Parkinson’s Treatment Using ESCs Still Lags Behind Adult Stem Cell Progress

Date: 06/24/2002

In addition to publishing Dr. Catherine Verfaillie’s research proving the pluripotency of adult stem cells, the current issue of Nature also reports the results of a study led by Dr. Ron McKay at the National Institutes of Health. According to the report, Dr. McKay was successful in easing some symptoms of Parkinson’s in rats using mouse embryonic stem cells.

After 20 years of studying mouse embryonic stem cells, only now have scientists achieved some benefits in treating rats with Parkinson’s.

But this development still lags far behind developments in treating Parkinson’s using adult stem cells. In marked contrast to McKay’s study with rats, adult stem cells have already successfully treated a human patient with Parkinson’s.

Dr. Michel Levesque of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angles reported in April that he had used a patient’s own adult neural stem cells to treat the patient’s Parkinson’s. After a year, the patient’s symptoms were relieved by 83%. Dr. Levesque reported his results at the April 8, 2002 meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.