The patient with Parkinson’s disease for the first time transplanted neurons derived from his own skin cells. The experiment was kept secret, but it turned out to be completely legal and safe. Since the operation two-and-a-half years, during this time, no side effects appeared. During this time his condition stabilized on progress too early, but signs of neurodegeneration doctors have not found. A study published in the journal The New England Journal of Medicine.
The technology of cellular reprogramming appeared in 2006, but its clinical applications are still not so much. The fact that the very process — the transformation of adult cells into induced pluripotent cells (similar to embryonic stem) and yet runs with low efficiency. Furthermore, embryonic cells can form a tumor, and even after their differencesbut in a particular cell type in culture can be dangerous clones. So while therapy with the use of reprogramming are rare. For example, in the fall of 2019 from reprogramming cells for the first time raised the cornea, and in early 2020 “patch” for the heart.
In both cases, the pioneers are the Japanese researchers since, as the Japanese biologists invented reprogrammable adult cells into stem cells, the country became one of the leaders in the field of cell therapy. In 2018 in Japan there was a project of another method: the researchers were going to try the reprogramming against Parkinson’s disease, that is to turn adult cells into embryonic, to develop them into progenitor cells of neurons and implanting in the patient’s brain. Clinical trials started in the fall of 2018, but their results are not yet published.
The Japanese team was the first who spoke about a similar experiment, but as it turned out, not the first one who launched it. As found magazine STAT, in the U.S. such a plan matured in 2014. In 2017, when Japan only built the test plans, the first patient had received an injection of cells, and now a team of doctors under the leadership of Kwang-soo Kim (Kwang-Soo Kim) from McLean hospital in Massachusetts published a report of this experimental therapy.
According STAT, the first patient is an American businessman, a former doctor George Lopez — Kim found himself 2013 and offered to sponsor his research. By that time, Lopez knew that he had Parkinson’s disease, but had not counted on the fact that doctors will be able to help him. Nevertheless, with funding and accelerating research in a few years, Kim was ready to try out the Lopez your method.
The researchers took human skin cells were reprogrammable them in embryonic stem and then differentiated into the precursors of dopaminergic neurons — those that die in patients with Parkinson’s disease. To make sure that their Protocol is robust, Kim and colleagues have tested it on humanized mice are animals with immunodeficiency, which transplanted human blood cells. They implanted the resulting neurons in the brain and then followed the level of immune aggression. As one would expect if the blood cells and neurons were obtained from one patient, the immune response does not occur, and if different, in the developed brain inflammation.
At the same time, the authors came up with a way to get rid of undifferentiated cells in culture. For this they were treated with quercetin — a substance of plant origin, which is used in anticancer therapy — then “suspicious” cells were not more than one in a billion.
Kim and colleagues kept the experiment a secret and did not publish preliminary statements. However, it was absolutely legal: they got permission from the FDA to use his method in exceptional circumstances — that is, only a terminally ill person, and each time the procedure must be confirmed again. In the first stage of the work the FDA has agreed to the imposition of the cells only in the left hemisphere of the brain. In a second series of injections in the right hemisphere — the Agency has agreed only six months later, when it became clear that the procedure does not cause any side effects.