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Category Archives: Parkinson’s Treatment
Posted: June 24, 2017 at 8:46 am
June 23, 2017 The stimulation volume (red), i.e. the area of the brain immediately adjacent to the electrode, which becomes ‘activated’ when stimulation occurs. Image: Andreas Horn, Charit. Credit: Andreas Horn, Charit.
Working with colleagues from Harvard Medical School and Wrzburg, researchers from Charit – Universittsmedizin Berlin have been examining the use of deep brain stimulation in the treatment of Parkison’s disease in an attempt to optimize treatment effectiveness. Specifically, they have been looking at which brain regions need to be connected to the electrode used for deep brain stimulation. The researchers found a way to use brain connectivity (i.e. connections in the brain) to predict the best possible relief of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. The results, describing an effective network profile of deep brain stimulation has been reported in the journal Annals of Neurology.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established treatment for Parkinson’s disease, usually leading to significant improvement in motor symptoms and quality of life. Symptoms such as movement restrictions, muscle rigidity, or tremor can be alleviated using the neurosurgical procedure which places small electrodes into deep structures of the brain. Whether optimal symptom relief is achieved depends on the correct placement of the electrode. Characteristic connectivity patterns can be observed between the area surrounding the implant and other areas of the brain. “An optimally-positioned neurostimulator disposes of an optimal connectivity profile,” explains Dr. Andreas Horn, a researcher at Charit’s Department of Neurology and Experimental Neurology. “High treatment effectivity is associated with strong connections between the DBS electrode and specific frontal areas of the brain, such as the ‘supplementary motor area’,” says Dr. Horn. This relationship was not previously known.
The researchers were also able to show that an electrode’s connectivity profile can be used to predict the extent to which treatment can alleviate a patient’s movement restrictions. They did so by using a special electrode localization procedure which was developed at Charit in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Andrea Khn over a period of several years. The procedure continues to be based on exact brain connectivity maps which were developed in cooperation with Harvard Medical School. The researchers used the MRI sequences of more than 1,000 test subjects to create a ‘connectivity map’ of the average human brain. Using both of these methods in combination, it is possible to produce connectivity profiles for any DBS electrode. Using basic principles from the field of machine learning, the researchers succeeded in producing and validating an optimal connectivity profile. Dr. Andreas Horn and his international research partners successfully ensured the high-precision placement of more than 90 DBS electrodes.
The researchers are planning to conduct further studies to develop a patient-specific, ‘made-to-measure’ method of brain stimulation. This may become feasible since it is possible to analyze a patient’s specific connectivity profile using MRI training data even before he or she undergoes DBS electrode placement surgery. “It would be possible to determine the optimal location for stimulation even before the invasive part of the procedure starts,” says Dr. Horn. “We are now in the process of developing a complete procedure for connectivity-based deep brain stimulation, which will then need to undergo further validation studies.” At some point in the distant future, this will make it possible to run a computer simulation prior to using the treatment in a specific patient.
Explore further: Patient-specific approach may improve deep brain stimulation used to treat Parkinson’s
More information: Andreas Horn et al, Connectivity predicts deep brain stimulation outcome in Parkinson’s disease, Annals of Neurology (2017). DOI: 10.1002/ana.24974
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Posted: at 8:46 am
Despite Parkinsons Disease affecting around 1 million people in the US alone, the degenerative disease can be difficult to live with. We Have Parkinsons, one of the growing support and research groups in the US dedicated to helping those live with the disease, has offered those who may feel isolated and struggling with daily tasks tips for living with their illness.
The first port of call for sufferers is to ask for help. Many feel that seeking help is a sign of weakness, but as Parkinsons becomes more well-known, many individuals are much more informed and educated on the topic, meaning theyre often more sympathetic to those suffering.
Speaking about the illness, Jon Sherman, CEO, from We Have Parkinsons, said, Not long ago, not an awful lot was known about Parkinsons, but as treatments have developed, and more people with Parkinsons have spoken about their experiences, there is a growing awareness of the disease. As a result, friends, family and colleagues increasingly will know how to help those struggling. Therefore, anyone who may be struggling with new symptoms, or those whose quality of life is gradually deteriorating, will often find that asking loved ones and even strangers for help can be a huge support.
The next tip from the experts is to read up about the disease and invest in small gadgets that can make a big difference. Using a phone, a remote control, and even a keyboard can become increasingly difficult, but by researching and investing in specialist alternatives, such as phones, remote controls, and keyboards with large buttons, or even voice activated ones, can be incredibly freeing and much more convenient.
The last tip from the group is to not be afraid to look at alternative treatments. Not every treatment will work for every person, added Mark Beatty. If you find something isnt making a difference, or isnt suiting you, its time to look at alternatives. There are lots of treatments available nowadays to ease symptoms, so it pays to do your homework.
Restore Gold capsules, developed by We Have Parkinsons, contain seven key ingredients that have helped to ease the symptoms of those with Parkinsons in 80 percent of cases, based on customer feedback. Manufactured with FDA GMP manufacturing practices, the capsules have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who have tried it.
We Have Parkinsons is made up of Parkinsons Disease sufferers. Having come together just three years ago, the team aims to help make life that little bit easier for fellow sufferers by opening up their world while potentially helping to improve quality of life with their innovative Restore Gold capsules.
To find out more about We Have Parkinsons, and read the reviews of Restore Gold, the groups innovative product that has been easing Parkinsons symptoms, visit the website: wehaveparkinsons.com
Brain cell transplants to treat Parkinson’s disease may return after 14 … – Genetic Literacy Project
Posted: June 16, 2017 at 8:47 pm
Researchers are working to revive a radical treatment for Parkinsons disease.
The treatment involves transplanting healthy brain cells to replace cells killed off by the disease. Its an approach that was tried decades ago and then set aside after disappointing results.
During the 1980s and 1990s, researchers used cells taken directly from the brains of aborted fetuses to treat hundreds of Parkinsons patientsFor some patients, the transplanted fetal cells produced dramatic improvements. But rigorous studies eventually showed that many other patients were not helped. And some developed an unwelcome side effect: uncontrolled movements. So in 2003, researchers declared a moratorium on transplants for Parkinsons.
To prevent that sort of problem, scientistshave spent the past dozen years figuring out how to turn stem cells into pure lines of dopamine cells in the lab.
Unlike the transplanted fetal cells, these cells are an exact replacement for the neurons that produce dopamine in an adult brain, So you are confident that everything you are putting in the patients brain will consist of right type of cell, says Viviane Tabar, a neurosurgeon and stem cell biologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post:Brain Cell Transplants Are Being Tested Once Again For Parkinsons
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Brain cell transplants to treat Parkinson’s disease may return after 14 … – Genetic Literacy Project
Posted: June 14, 2017 at 9:48 am
In Brief Researchers have used transplanted choroid plexus brain cells from pigs to treat people with Parkinson’s disease with promising results. Placebo-controlled trials have now begun in what may be the a step toward a treatment for millions of people. Neurochemical Reboot
New Zealand biotech company Living Cell Technologies has developed a treatment for Parkinsons disease using choroid plexus cells from pigs. These cells are found in the area of the brain that manufactures a mix of signaling molecules and growth factors that maintain nerve health, so the researchers transplanted the healthy cells from pig donors into four human subjects. 18 months post surgery, the results are still promising, so researchers began a placebo-controlled trial in 18 additional patients in May.
Parkinsons disease is characterized by the progressive loss of dopamine-making brain cells. Dopamine itself helps the brain control movement in the body. The aim of this treatment is to nourish existing healthy brain cells in recipients to slow or prevent further loss. Thus far, the technique has proven successful in the treatment of rats with a species-specific corollary of Parkinsons disease.
Its putting in a little neurochemical factory to promote new nerve cell growth and repair, Ken Taylor of Living Cell Technologies told New Scientist.
The researchers need the placebo-controlled results to ensure that theyre not observing the placebo effect; this is a particular concern in this case since the four patients reported immediate improvements and nerve cells cannot physically respond and regrow that quickly. Other studies have shown that symptoms of Parkinsons disease appear to respond to the placebo effect at a high rate. However, because the results have been maintained for 18 months, it is also possible that the results are legitimate. Only the placebo-controlled data will reveal the truth.
Assuming this treatment is effective, it may be extended to treat other neurological disorders such as Huntingtons and Alzheimers. Another issue that will arise should the treatment succeed will be how it compares to other treatments, especially other cell therapies. Researchers have also had success with dopamine-producing brain cells taken from aborted fetuses, but this is a difficult sort of tissue to get, especially in the U.S. Other researchers hope to transform regular adult stem cells into dopamine-making cells; this would have the advantage of eliminating the rejection risk inherent to transplants and risks arising from the use of non-human DNA.
Successful treatments for Parkinsons disease could help millions of people up to one million in the U.S., and an estimated seven to 10 million around the world. About 60,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinsons annually, and thousands of cases remain undetected. It costs $2,500 per year on average to treat the disease, and therapeutic surgery may cost as much as $100,000 per patient. In fact, the estimated total direct and indirect cost of Parkinsons in the U.S. alone, including lost income from inability to work, social security payments, and treatment, is almost $25 billion annually. Innovation in treatments like this could one day make medical care for Parkinsons disease more accessible.
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Brain Cells From Pigs Implanted Into Human Brains to Treat Parkinson’s – Futurism
Hong Kong biotech start-up claims world first in stem cell treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases – South China Morning Post
Posted: at 9:48 am
Oper Technology, a Hong Kong biotechnology start-up, has pioneered what it claims is a world first in stem cell treatment that it says could potentially help millions of patients suffering from Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases.
The business was co-founded by Hong Kong Baptist Universitys Professor Ken Yung, who specialises in neurobiology and neurological diseases in the universitys biology department.
He and his team has now developed a method of harvesting neural stem cells from the brains of live subjects using specially developed nanoparticles.
The exploration of using stem cells to repair damaged neural cells is not a new concept. Scientists in the US and elsewhere have experimented using stem cells from fat and skin, developing them into neural cells.
But Yung claims his team is the first to successfully harvest stem cells directly from the brain and re-inject the developed neural cells back into a live subject, thereby artificially regenerating any cells which have died off, due to neurological diseases from neural stem cells themselves.
Stem cells have the potential to develop into different types of cells with specialised functions.
The nanoparticles which are made of a type of iron oxide work like magnets to attract the stem cells within the brain.
Yung said these can then be developed into more specific neural cells and re-injected into the brain to replace damaged cells caused by diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons, where neurons in the patients brains progressively die off with time.
He suggests the treatment could benefit almost 100 million patients around the world, who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases, including strokes.
China alone has the largest population of people with dementia, with an estimated 23.3 million now projected to suffer from the condition by 2030, according to the World Health Organisation.
Yung co-founded Oper Technology and serves as its chairman.
The company is being developed under Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Incu-Bio programme, which provides select biotechnology start-ups with laboratory and support services, and ultimately it aims to commercialise its medical technology.
If you put the [developed] cells in a different environment from where the [stem cells are harvested], there might be [misdirected] growth in an uncontrolled environment, said Yung.
We want to use neural cells to repair neural cells, and since the stem cells and re-injected neural cells are from the same micro-environment, there will not be uncontrollable growth.
The method has proven to be very successful when tested on rats, especially in cases of Parkinsons, according to Yung, who suggested the method could eventually become an ultimate treatment for the disease.
Furthermore, the risks of this treatment are similar to what is currently on the market today, he added.
The treatment could also help to treat early-stage Alzheimers patients, slowing down or even halting the degeneration process, although Yung acknowledged that its effectiveness in treating terminal stage patients may be limited since it would be difficult to regenerate enough neural cells when patients brains have shrunk due to the condition.
While animals subjected to the treatment displayed an improvement in neural function following the re-injection, the team has yet to start on clinical trials as such cell therapy is still nascent and largely unregulated in Hong Kong.
Oper Technology is currently seeking investment and often sets up booths at conferences such as last weeks EmTech Hong Kong conference, which focuses on innovation and emerging technologies.
Yung hopes to raise enough funds to begin clinical trials in Australia in the near future, where autologous cell therapies are legal and thus provides an ideal environment for clinical trials.
Posted: June 13, 2017 at 2:48 am
Monday, June 12, 2017 2:58 p.m. EDT
By Gene Emery
(Reuters Health) – An experimental extended-release version of the drug amantadine can reduce the duration of the involuntary dancing-like movements seen in people whose long-term use of levodopa has kept their Parkinsons disease under control.
The results may help doctors walk a tightrope in treating the tremors and muscle rigidity of Parkinson’s itself, where the beneficial effects of levodopa wane over time, producing so-called “off” times. Efforts to shorten the off times by increasing the levodopa dose lead to the other unwanted movements, a condition known as levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID).
LID arises in more than half of Parkinson’s patients who have taken levodopa for four to six years and in more than 90 percent of patients who have been on the drug for a decade. The disease itself affects nearly a million people in the U.S., according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
In the new study, when 58 patients were given placebo for 12 weeks, they improved by 8.0 points on a test designed to measure their symptoms that has a maximum score of 104. But for the 63 people on extended-release amantadine, the improvement was 15.9 points.
And when doctors looked at patients off times, they found amantadine decreased the duration by about 34 minutes per day compared to placebo recipients, who saw the duration of their unwanted movements increase by about 18 minutes.
“This would be the first medicine, if approved, to take care of the dyskinesia and the off times,” lead author Dr. Rajesh Pahwa, director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, told Reuters Health.
The study, known as EASE LID, did not compare this formulation of amantadine to other LID therapies, including immediate-release amantadine, which has to be taken two or three times a day. The manufacturer, California-based Adamas Pharmaceuticals, paid for the test. The long-acting version used in the current study is also known as ADS-5102.
“The results demonstrated that extended-release amantadine was well tolerated, safe, and effective for the treatment of LID,” Dr. Aparna Wagle Shukla of the University of Florida, Gainesville writes in an editorial in JAMA Neurology, where the study appears. “It remains to be established whether the benefits of this new pill will justify the cost.”
But the drug has side effects, including insomnia, agitation, constipation, dizziness and, most commonly, hallucinations, which were experienced by nearly one out of four patients. Those unwanted properties caused one in five patients to discontinue the drug, a rate three times higher than seen with placebo.
Immediate-release amantadine is not approved as a treatment for dyskinesia, but some doctors prescribe it anyway despite limited evidence, Pahwa said. Attempts to use nicotine, marijuana or the antiepilepsy drug levetiracetam as therapies have shown even less promise.
The experimental drug was given in the evening so blood levels would peak around noon, when LID symptoms are most likely to appear. The timing is also less likely to cause insomnia.
In addition to the hallucinations experienced by nearly a quarter of the drug recipients, other prominent side effect included swelling, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation and falls.
The researchers said the visual hallucinations were easily tolerated and didn’t affect a person’s normal function. Only one of the drug recipients reported a severe hallucination. Five of the 15 who reported hallucinations discontinued treatment.
“All Parkinson’s medicines in general can cause hallucinations,” Pahwa noted. With the experimental drug, “some can have hallucinations five minutes a day once a week. It’s something patients need to be aware of.”
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2sf4fgU JAMA Neurology online, June 12, 2017.
Posted: at 2:48 am
Pig brain cells could be the key to treating people with Parkinsons disease, according to early trials of a promising new treatment that implants the cells into a patients brain.
Living Cell Technologies, the company that developed the technique, reports that four patients in New Zealand have shown significant improvement after undergoing the procedure 18 months ago. The procedure has already proven successful in rats.
Parkinsons is a progressive neurological disease that slowly kills the brain cells that make dopamine, which helps control movement. Patients can take medicine to replace the dopamine but theres currently no cure or treatment to slow the diseases progression. More than 10 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons.
The new treatment takes cells from a pigs choroid plexus and places them into tiny capsules which are then inserted into the patients brain. This region of the pigs brain hosts a mixture of chemicals that researchers hope will slow the onset of Parkinsons by keeping a humans dopamine-producing cells alive and well. The capsules are created out of an ingredient from seaweed that stops the brains immune cells from attacking the pig cells.
The four patients each received 40 capsules in one side of their brain.
Its putting in a little neurochemical factory to promote new cell growth and repair, Ken Taylor, who helped create the treatment, told The New Scientist.
In May, 18 additional patients received 120 pig cell capsules in a second, placebo-controlled trial. The trials results are expected to be released in November.
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Brain cells from pigs might help treat Parkinson’s patients | New York … – New York Post
Posted: at 2:48 am
The disease is caused by the gradual loss of dopamine-producing cells
GJLP/Science Photo Library
By Clare Wilson
Would you have pig cells implanted in your brain? Some people with Parkinsons disease have, in the hope it will stop their disease progressing.
The approach is still in the early stages of testing, but initial results from four people look promising, with all showing some improvement 18 months after surgery. People with Parkinsons disease, which causes tremors and difficulty moving, usually get worse over time.
The disease is caused by the gradual loss of brain cells that make dopamine, a compound that helps control our movements. Current medicines replace the missing dopamine, but their effectiveness wears off over the years.
So Living Cell Technologies, based in Auckland, New Zealand, has been developing a treatment that uses cells from the choroid plexus in pigs. This brain structure makes a cocktail of growth factors and signalling molecules known to help keep nerve cells healthy.
Last month, surgery was completed on a further 18 people in a placebo-controlled trial, using the choroid plexus cell implants. The hope is that compounds made by these cells will nourish the remaining dopamine-producing cells in the patients brains, slowing further loss.
The approach has been successful in a rat version of Parkinsons disease. Its putting in a little neurochemical factory to promote new nerve cell growth and repair, says Ken Taylor of Living Cell Technologies.
Living Cell Technologies
The pig cells are placed inside a porous coating of alginate, made from seaweed, which allows growth factors to move into surrounding brain tissue, yet should stop patients immune cells from entering to attack the pig cells. This approach is also being used with pig pancreas cells being implanted in people with diabetes.
Each alginate capsule is about half a millimetre wide and contains about a thousand pig cells. In the first small trial, four people had 40 capsules put in one side of the brain.
The team have recorded an average improvement among these people of 14 points, measured on a 199-point scale of symptom severity, which gauges things such as how well people can walk and cut up their food. But Steven Gill at the University of Bristol, UK, says that could have been due to a placebo effect, as people improved immediately after the surgery. Nerve cells dont regrow that fast, he says.
Previous work has found that Parkinsons disease symptoms seem particularly responsive to the placebo effect, with some people showing improvements just because they expected to.
Gill also suggests that the people in the study appeared to improve so quickly because they initially exaggerated their symptom severity to get a place on the trial.
However, the improvements seen among these four people have been maintained over a long period 18 months. People with the disease normally deteriorate by a few points a year.
The larger, placebo-controlled trial should shed more light on the matter. Its results are due in November.
In this ongoing trial, people have had up to 120 capsules put in both sides of their brains. The strategy is a good idea, says Roger Barker at the University of Cambridge, who has previously acted as the companys scientific adviser, but isnt involved in the current trial. The question is how competitive that will be compared with other cell therapies.
Another kind of cell therapy for Parkinsons that has shown some success uses implants of dopamine-making brain cells taken from aborted fetuses. But such tissue is hard to obtain.
There are also hopes of turning adult stem cells into dopamine-producing cells. If this can be done using, for example, a patients skin cells, it would rule out the risk of any immune rejection of the implants.
In addition, pig brain cells are being investigated as treatments for other diseases caused by nerve cells dying, including Alzheimers and Huntingtons, which causes movement and cognitive problems. As the choroid plexus cells release a cocktail of different growth factors, they may prove helpful for treating these other disorders involving nerve cell damage.
One concern with such animal-to-human transplants is that viruses lying dormant within the pig DNA called porcine endogenous retroviruses could cross over into people and start a new disease. But this hasnt happened so far in those who have received pig pancreas cells for diabetes.
Other teams are attempting to use the gene-editing technology CRISPR to eliminate these viruses from the pig genome.
Read more: Parkinsons disease may start in the gut and travel to the brain
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Posted: June 11, 2017 at 6:43 am
Californian biotech firm Adamas Pharmaceuticals has presented updated efficacy and tolerability data
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