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J Cell Biochem. 2010 Feb 1;109(2):292-301. doi: 10.1002/jcb.22411.

Human ES and iPS cells as cell sources for the treatment of Parkinson's disease: current state and problems.

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Stem Cell Research Center, 21C Frontier R&D Program of Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Yonsei University Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea.


Cell therapy using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is a promising therapeutic option for Parkinson's disease (PD), an incurable neurodegenerative disease. A prerequisite for clinical application of hESCs for PD is an efficient and strict differentiation of hESCs into midbrain dopamine (mDA) neuron-like cells, which would be directly translated into high effectiveness of the therapy with minimum risk of undesirable side effects. Due to fruitful efforts from many laboratories, a variety of strategies for improving efficiency of dopaminergic differentiation from hESCs have been developed, mostly by optimizing culture conditions, genetic modification, and modulating intracellular signaling pathways. The rapid advances in the fields of dopaminergic differentiation of hESCs, prevention of tumor formation, and establishment of safe human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) would open the door to highly effective, tumor-free, and immune rejection-free cell therapy for PD in the near future.

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