Researchers plan to use iPS cells to combat Parkinson's

As Parkinson's disease becomes increasingly prevalent in the U.K., researchers at the Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre are determined to make headway in treatment options using stem cells. Led by Dr. Richard Wade-Martins, the Centre has received a £5 million grant to fund their skin-cell-to-brain-cell research.

Researchers have found that dopamine neurons die in Parkinson's patients. Using this knowledge, Wade-Martins and his team will gather data from 1,000 early Parkinson's patients and use their skin cells to create induced pluripotent stem cells, which will then be converted into dopamine neurons for treatment.

"It's far easier to take a skin sample than a brain biopsy," Wade-Martins says. "Once we have neurons from patients we can compare the functioning of cells taken from patients with the disease and those without to better understand why dopamine neurons die in patients with Parkinson's."

Wade-Martins and his team plan to use their Monument Discovery Award, the largest grant ever awarded by Parkinson's UK, for five years of research.

- read the ScienceDaily article