Therapeutic cloning can be used to treat Parkinson's disease in mice, reports a study published online in Nature Medicine. The method may be an effective way to reduce transplant rejection and enhance recovery in other diseases and in other organ systems.
In therapeutic cloning, also known as somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the nucleus of a somatic cell from a donor subject is inserted into an egg with the nucleus removed. This cell then develops into an embryo from which stem cells can be harvested and differentiated for therapeutic purposes. As the genetic information in the resulting stem cells comes from the donor subject, SCNT would yield subject-specific cells that would be spared by the immune system after transplantation.
Lorenz Studer and colleagues show that therapeutic cloning can treat Parkinson's disease in a mouse model. They obtained stem cells after SCNT and differentiated them into dopaminergic neurons -- the missing neurons in Parkinson's disease. The mice that received neurons derived from their own clones exhibited neurological improvement. But when these neurons were grafted into mice that did not genetically match the transplanted cells, the cells did not survive and the mice did not recover.
This is the first time that SCNT has been successfully used to treat disease in the same subjects from whom the cells were derived.
Lorenz Studer (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA)
Additional co-author contact:
Tabar Viviane (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA)
Abstract available online
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza