Parkinson’s to be treated using stimulated stem cells

Local | 21 May 2020 6:30 pm

Parkinson’s disease can be treated with stem cells stimulated by a nanostructure, Hong Kong Baptist University scientists have found.

They said  the technology could be applied to other cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ken Yung Kin-lam, professor of the Department of Biology, and Jeffery Huang Zhifeng, associate professor of the Department of Physics said the patented silica nanomatrix can stimulate neural stem cells to differentiate into new and healthy nerve cells that can be transplanted.

The nanostructure is like a self-organized mini-brain like structure that can be developed in only two weeks substantially reducing the risk of cancer formation, Huang said.

They will begin clinical trials soon and believe the medical device can treat Parkinson’s disease in 5-10 years and can largely bring down treatment costs.

They have tested the findings with rats, which showed improvements from the eighth week after the transplantation. In the 18th week, dopaminergic neurons were seen and widely spread around the primary transplantation site. In addition, no tumor-like characteristics were detected, which could happen for existing treatment methods as chemical is involved that encouraged growth of cancer cells, explained Yung.

Yung added the technology can help solve the inadequacy of stem cells, which is the major reason of most stem cell treatment failure nowadays.

The stem cells can be from the patient or from a donor.

Asked about ethical issues, Yung said this applied more for embryonic stem cells.

 

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