Blogs Articles Organizations Biography Jack's Book Contact Information Links

Navigation: SOS Sisson > Traumatic Injury Blog

Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

Jack has long been a proponent of stem cell research, and especially embryonic stem cells, whose use has been controversial, with most opposition coming from a moral and/or religious based belief about the beginning of human life. Most opponents to embryonic stem cell research believe human life begins at conception, thus, in their view, it is morally wrong to use embryos for medical research, even though such embryos are often slated for destruction. Whatever one's stance on embryonic stem cells, many scientists believe they offer significant hope for curing many of our most devastating diseases. One example is Parkinson's Disease.

From The Michael J Fox Foundation: Cell replacement therapy seeks to restore function in the body by replacing cells lost due to disease with new, healthy ones. In Parkinson's disease, this means replacing dopamine cells in the brain, the main type of cell that degenerates in the disease. Researchers hope that one day they will be able to use stem cells or iPS cells to successfully engineer healthy new dopamine-producing cells. These healthy cells would then be implanted into the brain, where the cells could in theory restart the brain's production of dopamine and restore normal movement.

At this time scientists are working to overcome two major challenges: first, engineering the dopamine-producing cells (see Stem Cells 101); second, getting these cells to function properly once they are transplanted into the brain. To date, scientists have had the most success generating robust dopamine neurons, in both quantity and quality, using embryonic stem (ES) cells. However, whether these engineered dopamine neurons are sufficiently 'authentic' — that is, whether they express everything natural ones do — is a remaining challenge.

Even if seemingly authentic dopamine neurons can be generated, researchers face an enormous hurdle in coaxing these cells to grow and make the correct connections in a host brain. This involves determining where to place the cell grafts and how to deliver them without causing additional brain damage or triggering immune rejection or inflammatory effects.

Additionally, the new cells must also be able to retain the characteristics of a dopamine neuron once implanted in the brain, where they will be exposed to other factors that may influence their further development and survival. Following transplantation into pre-clinical models, today's engineered cells often do not survive for long, can turn into different cell types or in some cases cause uncontrolled cell growth. For this reason, they are obviously not yet ready for therapeutic use in humans.


Based on evidence to date, the Foundation believes that the development of viable and feasible cell replacement therapies could revolutionize the treatment of Parkinson's disease. However, the hurdles to success are great; much work remains to be done before cell replacement therapy for PD is a viable therapy for patients. Furthermore, even if all roadblocks are overcome, cell replacement therapy may not be the “silver bullet” for treating PD. For example, researchers feel that dopamine cell replacement might have little or no effect on symptoms of PD not directly related to loss of dopamine cells, such as cognitive dysfunction, sleep problems, depression, constipation and gait and posture problems.

Keep reading.

TBI Film Reviews
TBI Book Reviews
Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
Brain Blog
Brain Blogger
SoapBlox/Chicago: Protecting Our Troops
Head Injury Survival Journal
Losing the Physical Self

Tower of Hanoi: Instructions for this popular puzzle can be viewed simply by clicking the Instructions button on that page.

May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   January 2009   March 2009   April 2009   December 2009   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   October 2010   November 2010   January 2011   February 2011   March 2011   April 2011   May 2011   June 2011   July 2011   August 2011   September 2011   October 2011   November 2011   December 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   June 2012   October 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   February 2013   March 2013   April 2013   May 2013   June 2013   October 2013  


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

FindingBlog - Blog Directory