In what could prove to be a major breakthrough in treating Parkinson's disease, a group of American researchers have successfully used stem cells to create brain cells that are destroyed in the disease.
Researchers led by Dr Lorenz Studer, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, revealed that they had managed to make the stem cells create the neurons that are destroyed in Parkinson's disease.
The newly created cells were then grafted into monkeys' brains and the researchers said that the cells have survived and were functioning normally.
Dr Studer expressed hope that the study would be useful in finding a future cure for Parkinson's. "Previously we did not fully understand the particular signals needed to tell stem cells how to differentiate into the right type of cells. The cells produced in the past would produce some dopamine but were not quite the right type of cell, so there were limited improvements in the animals. Now we know how to do it right, which is promising for future clinical use", he said.