Anyone ever heard of this company ? Is it legal ? They say they treated people with PD, AD, ... and they got better.
Please beware. Read the following for the latest published report I can find on the state of the art of stem cell therapy:
I have a number of issues with the Stemgenex approach:
1. It is a largely unproven science in humans
2. Simply injecting adult stem cells into the brain won't work - if it did the stem cells already in the brain would be able to replace the cells that have died. You might say that injecting more cells would work but stem cells, by their very nature, can give rise to many different cell types. Therefore, without forcing them into making specific dopamine producing nerve cells in the lab (they are given specific growth factors) the injected stem cells are likely to remain dormant (naturally occurring growth factors are not there in sufficient quantities, if they were then the naturally occurring stem cells would be able to replace nerve cells that are dying) or if they do differentiate (i.e. form different cell types) most won't form dopamine nerve cells. That's why most of the focus in stem cell research is to form the correct nerve cell in the lab. It would be easy if it was simply a matter of injecting loads of stem cells in the brain. Unfortunately it is not that easy.
3. I have a general problem with this approach. The following paper provided evidence that alpha synuclein (the protein that accumulates in PD cells and causes their death) can move from cell to cell (PD affected cells can "infect" nearby healthy cells).
Therefore any cells grown in the lab (whether stem cells or nicely formed dopamine producing nerve cells), once they are injected in a PD sufferers brain, will become infected and die. Meaning any treatment will be short lived. I believe that unless the movement of alpha synuclein from diseased to healthy nerve cells is addressed, stem cell therapy will not provide a cure.
yet again, a skeptical dr j
Thanks MrX & DrJ
Dr Johny, thanks for the reply. You are indeed correct.
I do have 1 remark though on your third point. It is true that as long as alpha-synuclein is misfolded, the new neurons will also get attacked. However, it takes time for this to happen. So if you could add dopamine neurons until the patient has the same amount of dopamine neurons as 10 years ago, the patient will be the same as 10 year ago and be at initial stage of PD. I think this would be amazing for the patient, even though he is not cured. He could take much less pills, feel much better, think more clearly, be dyskinesia free, have no off-time, ... Setting time 10 years back is more than just "short-lived", according to me.
I also think having dopamine neurons secreting dopamine in the correct part of the brain is more beneficial than when dopamine is added by pills like levedopa.
Even more, I remember research in which it was shown that dopamine neurons do more than just secreting dopamine. I read they also secrete serotonine and that this could be way people with PD get depressed over time.
So if I woul have PD and there would be a technique to insert dopamine neurons in my brain, I would definitely do it. But as you said, this stemgenex approach is probably not going to do that.