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  • I was thinking about the first time

  • I was given two frozen vials of embryonic stem cells.

  • Each vial cost $5,000.

  • And my boss said, "Now you grow them."

  • That was ten years ago.

  • And now look at my lab.

  • We grow the cells routinely.

  • For me, it's such a good thing

  • to see how the science has progressed in this field.

  • Hi, I'm Amy Adams with California's Stem Cell Agency.

  • We asked you to submit questions

  • about Parkinson's disease and stem cell research

  • through our blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Today we're at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging,

  • where Dr. Xianmin Zeng

  • is going to answer those questions

  • and also talk about her own Parkinson's disease research.

  • Let's go in.

  • Can you start by telling us

  • a little bit about Parkinson's disease,

  • what it is and what the symptoms are?

  • Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder

  • which leads to progressive deterioration

  • of motor function,

  • and the cause is the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells

  • in part of the midbrain called Substantia Nigra.

  • The primary symptoms for Parkinson's disease

  • is tremor, slowness in movement,

  • impaired balance, and stiffness.

  • It was ten years ago when you first started working with...

  • embryonic stem cells and Parkinson's disease.

  • Now you're getting close to clinical trials.

  • It is a long, slow path to get in to people.

  • What keeps you motivated?

  • I would say... to keep me motivated is...

  • My goal is to make a difference.

  • My hope is that what I'm working now today

  • will someday benefit the patient.

  • And at this moment,

  • we have decided on an embryonic stem cell line

  • which we know can be used for clinical purpose,

  • and we have generated two lots of dopaminergic neurons

  • suitable for direct transplantation into the brain

  • to hope those cells

  • will replace the lost cells and function in the brain.

  • So we are now in a position to go to the FDA

  • to file for a phase 1 clinical trial

  • in the next two years, that's my estimation,

  • so, in hoping that we would be able to run a clinical trial

  • in the next three to five years.

  • Why do we need a cure for the disease?

  • Because it's a terrible disease,

  • and there are about one million Americans suffer the disease,

  • and with the aging population now,

  • the number is expected to increase,

  • and about 40% of the people

  • affected by Parkinson's disease are under the age of 60.

  • So there is a clear impact of society

  • in terms of losing productivity.

  • One of the people who wrote in and asked us a question

  • said that the person's grandfather had Parkinson's disease,

  • "so what is the likelihood that I will also get it?"

  • Parkinson's disease, first of all,

  • is a disease described as a sporadic disease,

  • which means, actually, you don't know the cause.

  • 85% of the Parkinson's disease cases are sporadic,

  • so the chance that one person's grandfather has the disease,

  • it may increase the person's chance of having the disease,

  • but keep in mind that the disease is more sporadic.

  • So, you began working with embryonic stem cells

  • right at the very beginning,

  • and then since that time,

  • people have learned how to reprogram adult cells

  • like skin cells, into an embryonic-like state,

  • so they are more or less equivalent to embryonic stem cells,

  • and these are the iPS cells that we hear about a lot.

  • And you're now working with embryonic cells

  • and iPS cells.

  • Why do you work with both cell types?

  • Because iPS cells provided additional cell source

  • for producing the right type of dopaminergic neurons,

  • also because you now have a cell source

  • coming from both normal and patient subjects,

  • and you can use the cells to test different drugs

  • to be better predictor of the potential clinical benefit.

  • So a person wrote in asking about the different types of stem cells.

  • The person asked, "What types of stem cells

  • are best suited for treating Parkinson's disease?"

  • I think this is a question nobody can now provide an answer,

  • and that's why people need to work

  • with different types of the stem cells

  • in order to find out exactly this question:

  • What type of the stem cells is the best?

  • So that's why I'm working on both ES cells and iPS cells.

  • There are a lot of people working in the field,

  • and with the funding, with the right timing,

  • and the right training,

  • we're ready to make new discoveries.

I was thinking about the first time

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B1 disease parkinson parkinson disease embryonic clinical stem cell

Parkinson's: Ask the Stem Cell Expert | Xianmin Zeng, Buck Institute

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    Halu Hsieh posted on 2013/10/03
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