Kyoto University has conducted the world’s first induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) transplant in an attempt to treat Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is due to the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine. Parkinson’s disease symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait.

Professor Jun Takahashi, who led the transplant team, created nerve cells from the artifically derived stem cells, known as iPS cells. The artificial nerve cells were then transplanted into the brain of a patient. The nerve cells are expected to supplement dopamine-emitting neurons.

The whole clinical trial will involves seven patients in their 50s and 60s. A hole in the frontal part of the left side of the head will be opened and approximately 2.4 million cells will be transplanted. Each patients will be monitor for two years, under the course of immune suppressor drugs to reduce the possibility of rejections.

The full news report could be read on Japan Times.

Kyoto University professor Jun Takahashi (right) speaks at a news conference in Kyoto on Friday.