Victoria conducts 1st world trial to treat Parkinson’s disease by injecting stem cell into brain of patient

By @vitthernandez on
Parkinson's Disease
Actor Michael J. Fox speaks during a panel discussion on Parkinson's disease during lunch at the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas May 6, 2015. Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991. Reuters/Rick Wilking

Neuroscientists at the Royal Melbourne Hospital have injected stem cells into the brain of a patient in Victoria as part of a world-first trial of a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Millions of stem cells were transplanted at 14 injection sites delivered through two 1.5-centimetre holes in the skull.

The therapy aims to increase the level of neurotransmitter dopamine of the patient. The lack of dopamine causes tremors, rigidity and slowness. The stem cells, expected to metamorphose into brain cells, were frozen and flown from the US, reports Herald Sun.

The experimental surgery on the 64-year-old male Parkinson's disease patient involved months of designing from operation from zero, securing regulatory approval and importing an equipment used for the first time in Australia.  The 14 injection sites are divided into seven each side of the brain.

The injection, done using a small plastic tube 165 millimetres in diameter, is carefully guided down through the brain tissue. The site is given 21.4 micro litres of stem cells or five micro litres per minute. After the patient receives 300 micro litres, the cranula is threaded back out.

Neurosurgeons will scan the patient after six and 12 months to check if the stem cells have changed into brain cells which boost dopamine levels. The stem cells were from a single egg donor in Russia 20 years ago, discloses Dr Andrew Evans from the hospital. Evans says he hopes the surgery would help reduce symptoms by 30 percent, reports 3AW.com.au.

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Source: khanacademymedicine