The prime cause of Parkinson’s is the death of certain brain nerve cells, the reason for which still remains a mystery. It may soon be unraveled, as a study by the University of Edinburgh, in alliance with University College London, has lead to generation of stem cells from a rapidly progressing form of Parkinson’s disease.
These stem cells were created with a skin sample taken from a patient going through a highly progressive form of Parkinson’s. The subject has been suffering from a condition that grows quickly and can mostly be diagnosed in the early thirties. This rare form of the disease creates almost twice the amount of alpha synuclein protein as compared to general population. The protein can be linked to all stages and forms of the disease.
“Understanding such a progressive form of the disease will give us insight into different types of Parkinson’s. As this type of Parkinson’s progresses rapidly it will also make it easier to pick up the effects of drugs tested to prevent nerve cells targeted by the disease from dying,” explained Dr. Michael Devine, UCL’s Institute of Neurology.
With cells from the skin sample, brain nerve cells, better known as neurons, affected by the disease were generated. These stem cells may help in testing the potential of new drugs for toning down the growth of this condition. As a result of the development, scientists may be able replicate the disease in a laboratory and shed light on the probable cause of death of neurons.
Dr. Tilo Kunath, from the university’s Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine expresses that current drugs available can only alleviate symptoms of the condition. But remodeling the disease with these stem cells may lead to testing of drugs that have the capacity to halt or even reverse its effects.
This research was published in Nature Communications Journal.