11 months ago
By creating replacement cells to repair brain damage, scientists think they’ve discovered a possible treatment that could reverse the effects of Parkinson’s Disease in the process.
Researchers say they’ve developed a way to encourage human brain cells to pick up the slack left by the damaged ones. The study, published in Nature Biotechnology, holds major promise but remains in its early stages, BBC reports.
The technique converts astrocytes to function like the dopamine-producing neurons damaged by Parkison’s. It these damaged neurons that cause the debilitating symptoms of the disease, including tremors and difficulty walking.
Scientists have been looking for ways to replace dopamine neurons by injecting new ones into the brain. The new research uses a method that requires no dopamine injections. Instead, it uses a mixture of molecules to reprogram the cells already existing in the brain.
The technique used on lab mice seemed to alleviate the Parkinson-like symptoms, but experts acknowledge moving the study to humans “will be a huge challenge,” according to the BBC.