Patients with Parkinson's have new hope as researchers find a novel way to treat people with Parkinson's disease with brain cells made from patients' own skin.
Two teams of researchers have independently worked out how to turn skin cells into specialised neurons that make dopamine. This neurotransmitter, which is vital for mobility, is depleted in the brains of people with Parkinson's, reports New Scientist.
The studies raise the possibility of improving mobility in people with Parkinson's by restoring dopamine production to normal.
Vania Broccoli of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, and colleagues, first reprogrammed mouse skin cells using three transcription factors - proteins previously linked with the development of the neurons. The same trio of factors transformed skin cells taken from human embryos, healthy adults and people with Parkinson's.
The Swedish team at Lund University, led by Malin Parmar, first converted human skin cells from embryos into neurons, then into specialised ones that make dopamine. Altogether, they used five transcription factors, including two used by the Italians - Mash1 and Lmx1a.