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November 04, 2004

Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Parkinson's Disease

This is an older study from 2001 but remains relevant to the current debate on embryonic stem cell research [hat tip: Back of the Envelope via Prothesis]

A carefully controlled study that tried to treat Parkinson's disease by implanting cells from aborted fetuses into patients' brains not only failed to show an overall benefit but also revealed a disastrous side effect, scientists report.

In about 15 percent of patients, the cells apparently grew too well, churning out so much of a chemical that controls movement that the patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably.

The researchers say that while some patients have similar effects from taking too high a dose of their Parkinson's drug, in this case the drugs did not cause the symptoms and there is no way to remove or deactivate the transplanted cells. [See also the NY Times]

Posted by Blogorithm at November 4, 2004 10:53 PM


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