Stem cells may aid Parkinson's patients

May 6, 2010 at 4:46 PM
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NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 6 (UPI) -- A U.S. study suggests endometrial stem cells might be able to take over the function of the non-working brain cells of Parkinson's disease patients.

Yale University researchers led by Dr. Hugh Taylor said they injected the stem cells into the brains of mice with a laboratory-induced form of Parkinson's disease. The cells appeared to take over the functioning of brain cells eradicated by the disease.

The scientists said their finding raises the possibility that women with Parkinson's disease could serve as their own stem cell donors. Similarly, because endometrial stem cells -- derived from the lining of the uterus -- are readily available and easy to collect, banks of endometrial stem cells could be stored for men and women with Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease results from a loss of brain cells that produce the chemical messenger dopamine, which aids the transmission of brain signals that coordinate movement.

"Endometrial tissue is probably the most readily available, safest, most easily attainable source of stem cells that is currently available," said Taylor. "I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for what we will be able to do with these cells."

The findings appear in the early online edition of the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

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