There is an improvement in the motor symptoms of patients who suffer from Parkinson disease as a result of cell implants from the human retina, according to a study conducted by the University of Alabama. Most patients who suffer from the neurodegenerative disorder require the levodopa medication for bringing the symptoms under control. This is used for treating tremors and spasms. The levodopa medication may result in dyskinesias and motor fluctuations in the long run, and the dosage may have to be increased after a period of 5 years.
Levodopa can be produced from the retinal pigment epithelial cells of human beings which can be isolated from the eye tissue after postmortem, developed in culture, after which it can be implanted in the human brain. The cell implants have been performed upon patients who suffered from advanced stages of the Parkinson disease, after conducting experiments upon animals. Efficacy evaluations were performed by the researchers on the patients who received the implants.
After a period of 12 months, an improvement of 48% was seen, and even after two years had passed, the improvement remained sustained. There were also improvements noticed in motor fluctuations, the quality of life, and daily living. The implants do not produce any side effects. The Archives of Neurology published the study in its December 2005 issue. A much bigger study with regard to safety and efficacy of the retina cell implant treatment has commenced, according to the research scientists.