Cloning treats Parkinson’s disease in mice

March 24th, 2008 - 11:46 am ICT by admin  

New York, March 24 (IANS) In a potentially significant development, researchers have for the first time demonstrated that therapeutic cloning can be used to treat Parkinson’s disease in mice. Such cloning, also known as somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), though now being used in animals, could have future implications and may help reduce transplant rejection in other diseases and in other organ systems.

Findings of the study, by researchers at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, have been published in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

In SCNT, the nucleus of a somatic cell from a donor is inserted into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. This cell then develops into a blastocyst from which embryonic stem cells can be harvested and differentiated for therapeutic purposes.

As the genetic information in the resulting stem cells comes from the donor subject, SCNT would yield subject-specific cells that are spared by the immune system after transplantation.

The new study shows that therapeutic cloning can treat Parkinson’s disease in a mouse model.

Researchers used skin cells from the tail of the animal to generate the missing neurons in Parkinson’s disease. The mice that received neurons derived from individually matched stem cell lines exhibited neurological improvement.

But when these neurons were grafted into mice that did not genetically match the transplanted cells, the cells did not survive well and the mice did not recover.

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