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Cell therapy for brain repair focussing on Parkinson’s disease

Proof of principle for cell replacement therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease was first demonstrated in the clinic using human fetal tissue in the 1980’s.

Key limitations in this technology lie in the availability of donor material, graft survival and ensuring appropriate connectivity of the transplanted cells.

Research within the group is focused on strategies to identify and select the ideal dopamine neurons, promoting cell survival upon implantation and enhancing integration of transplanted cells into the host tissue.

Efforts include the use of neurotrophins such as GDNF to promote survival and plasticity, inhibitors of scar tissue formation (including chondroitinase) and exercise-induced plasticity.

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