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Neurosurg Focus. 2008;24(3-4):E6. doi: 10.3171/FOC/2008/24/3-4/E5.

Recent advances in cell-based therapy for Parkinson disease.

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NINDS Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence, Harvard University and McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts 02478, USA.


In this review, the authors discuss recent advances in the field of cell therapy for Parkinson disease (PD). They compare and contrast recent clinical trials using fetal dopaminergic neurons. They attribute differences in cell preparation techniques, cell type specification, and immunosuppression as reasons for variable outcome and for some of the side effects observed in these clinical trials. To address ethical, practical, and technical issues related to the use of fetal cell sources, alternative sources of therapeutic dopaminergic neurons are being developed. The authors describe the progress in enrichment and purification strategies of stem cell-derived dopaminergic midbrain neurons. They conclude that recent advances in cell therapy for PD will create a viable long-term treatment option for synaptic repair for this debilitating disease.

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