Parkinson's disease results from neuron loss, which affects millions worldwide.
Transplantation of fetal tissue to restore this loss has shown promise, but ethical concerns over acquiring this tissue limit its use.
In a June 17 study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vania Broccoli and others at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute converted fibroblasts into neurons and engrafted them into the brains of rodents with parkinsonism.
These neurons restored motor function almost as well as rat fetal tissue. An accompanying article discusses how this study potentially provides a promising source of replacement neurons in Parkinson's disease.