Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have made a major breakthrough in the development of a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Clinical trials are currently underway that utilize stem cells to treat Parkinson’s by injecting healthy stem cells directly into the brain. However, there is one major hurdle: the healthy injected cells can become diseased from the nearby cells exhibiting Parkinson’s symptoms. In lab tests, the researchers used CRISPR to splice the DNA of the stem cells to eradicate the gene that causes the toxic clumps of cells in the brain, which contribute to the neuronal degeneration. The edited stem cells also successfully produced dopamine, which is significantly lacking in Parkinson’s patients.
Luis Suarez, a star of FC Barcelona, will undergo a stem cell treatment to alleviate pain in his knee and prevent further injury. Suarez has been dealing with intermittent spurs of pain, and a traumatic crash during a recent match exacerbated his injury and may have sidelined him for several weeks. However, Suarez’s stem cell treatment should have him back on the field in approximately 2-week's-time.
The treatment involves recovering the patient’s own stem cells (in this case mesenchymal stem cells - the same type of stem cells found in teeth), concentrating them and injecting them into the site of the injury to accelerate healing, decrease inflammation and eliminate the need for surgical intervention.
Researchers at Rutgers University have created a bio-degradable scaffold that could overcome the biggest hurdle in stem cell treatments, which is cell survival and delivery. In order for a treatment to be effective, the stem cells must reach the designated site and remain there while they work. "Our enhanced stem cell transplantation approach is an innovative potential solution," comments Professor Ki Bum Lee, senior author of the study.
Researchers in Korea are conducting clinical trials utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to repair rotator cuff damage. The patients participating in the study sustained a partial thickness rotator cuff tear, which caused chronic shoulder pain and would otherwise require surgical intervention. Typically, rotator cuff tears are treated with nonsurgical methods, such as corticosteroid injections, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. However, these treatments leave nearly half of the patients with chronic pain.