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Dopaminergic progenitor cells derived from a Parkinson's disease patient's own skin cells and injected into his putamen showed evidence of survival and were associated with improved motor scores and quality of life measures.
The cells were implanted into the 69-year-old Parkinson's patient's putamen in two procedures, left hemisphere followed by right hemisphere, 6 months apart. PET imaging with a dopaminergic activity tracer up to 24 months suggested graft survival, reported Jeffrey Schweitzer, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues, in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Over 24 months, the patient's MDS-UPDRS, part III (evaluating parkinsonian motor signs) and PDQ-39 (assessing Parkinson's disease-related quality of life) scores also improved. His Parkinson's drug regimen at 24 months was similar to his pre-procedure treatment, but his levodopa equivalents were reduced from 904 mg to 847 mg.
The patient required no immunosuppression. "We have shown for the first time in this study that these reprogrammed cells are still recognized as self by the patient's immune system and won't be rejected," senior author Kwang-Soo Kim, PhD, of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, said in a statement.
"The study is interesting and promising, but should be interpreted with caution given that it reports on only one patient with limited and incomplete clinical data," noted Malin Parmar, PhD, of Lund University's Developmental and Regenerative Neurobiology department in Sweden, who wasn't involved with the research.