In recent years stem cells have become a growing interest in the medical community. Stem cells are cells that are capable of self-renewal and possess the ability to divide into multiple types of cells. (Elise, Merchant, and Sugaya 2010) Discovery of their structure and features has made a revolution in medical research. There is a great potential to expand variety of applications of stem cells as a therapy. One of them is cell transplantation to replace lost neurons. Replacement of damaged neurons is the basis of the treatment of progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson disease (PD). This paper will firstly introduce the main factors which cause PD; secondly, will examine current types of treatment of PD; thirdly will illustrate the operation of treatment of Parkinson’s disease by stem cell therapy and finally will claim that stem-cell research has a potential to be an effective treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Causes of PD
Parkinson’s disease occurs when there is insufficient amount of dopamine neurotransmitter in the substantia nigra, a part of the midbrain. The substantia nigra controls and regulates movement. Chemical substance which is released from nerve cells (neurons) is called neurotransmitter. It provides the opportunity to communicate with one or a number of other neurones. The more dopaminergic cells die, the lower level of dopamine is contained in the substantia nigra. Therefore communication between the brain and body is interrupted. Medical community came to consensus that that Parkinson’s disease, like heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, has complex of different factors: both environmental and genetic. This means that the cause of PD for most people is not found in genes or the environment alone, but in some interaction between them. Currently there are different types of treatment of parkinsonian disease aimed to improve motor function and minimize behavioural disabilities. There are different types of treatment such as levodopa, dopamine agonists and surgery. (Harris 2004)
Levodopa was introduced 30 years ago and still is one of the available treatments of Parkinson’s disease. Levodopa or L-dopa is a chemical substance which is absorbed from the small bowel and then is transformed into the dopamine in the region of the midbrain. (Wayne and Wieler 2003) Treatment is based on the following principle: survived dopaminergic neurons are supplied by L-dopa which then is converted to crucial dopamine. It significantly reduced mortality and morbidity among the patients during the first years of treatment. (Fung, Hely, and Morris 2000).
All of the people with Parkinson’s disease experienced considerable clinical improvement. Nevertheless Fung, Hely, and Morris (2000,484) claim that levodopa is associated with 2 groups of complications. The first set of problems is related to fluctuations: dyskinesia...