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Stem cell studies backed for Parkinson's research

25th October 2006

The issue of stem cell research in order to find treatments for Parkinson's disease has been raised again in the US, as it becomes part of the election battle between Republicans and Democrats in the upcoming mid-term congressional elections.

Michael J Fox, one of the disease's most high-profile sufferers, has appeared in televised adverts opposing the anti-stem-cell-research position of the Republican candidate for Missouri Senate.

Stem-cell research in the UK, however, is backed by the government and scientists believe that there is the potential for significant advances to be made.

"The Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS) firmly supports stem cell research (using both embryonic and adult stem cells) within the ethical and regulatory framework in place in the UK," said Grace Henderson, a spokesperson for PDS.

"The PDS is currently investing more than £1.5m into studies in this area, in the hope that if the hypotheses are proved, stem cell therapy will offer an effective cure for Parkinson's in the future."

She also explained that one of the most important goals for researchers is to develop a method to grow dopamine-reproducing cells in the brain, which could replace those lost in patients suffering from Parkinson's disease.