MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - UW Madison scientists say a recent stem-cell experiment could lead to a future cure for Parkinson’s disease.
Neuro-scientist Su-Chun Zhang said his team converted skin cells from a rhesus monkey into early brain cells – and they then implanted them in the same monkey’s brain.
After a while, the reprogrammed cells grafted into the brain, and they could not be distinguished from the other natural cells which were already there.
Before the cell transfer, the three monkeys involved in the study were engineered to simulate their Parkinson’s disease.
Zhang said the experiment was intended to mimic future therapies in patients.
But he says much more needs to be done. He says his team is now using another federal grant to do long-range studies monkeys with re-programmed cells.
The doctors want to find out if the cells help improve the monkeys’ disease symptoms. If the cell treatments prove to help, clinical trials on human patients could be next.