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Stem cell breakthrough 'could aid Parkinson's disease research'

Stem cell breakthrough 'could aid Parkinson's disease research'
29th April 2009

A breakthrough in stem cell creation may allow scientists using the novel technique to develop new treatments for certain conditions including Parkinson's disease.

The Scripps Research Institute announced this week that the new technique now enables scientists to make stem cells in a laboratory with adult cells without having to genetically alter their make-up.

Associate professor at the Scripps Institute Sheng Ding, who led the research, said: "We are very excited about this breakthrough in generating embryonic-like cells from fibroblasts [cells that gives rise to connective tissue] without using any genetic material."

It is hoped that a therapy can be developed wherein doctors take the patient's own cells and reprogram them into stem cells, thus avoiding many ethical issues which have plagued the industry since its inception.

Earlier this month, Pfizer Regenerative Medicine and University College London signed an agreement to develop stem cell-based therapies for use in ophthalmic conditions.

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