Tuesday January 22, 2019

Scientists develop 3D model of cells to help Parkinson’s patients

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London: In a major step towards development of personalised drugs for Parkinson’s patients, researchers have managed to grow three dimensional models of cells that are lost with the progress of the disease.

The progressive loss of neurons in the brain of Parkinson’s patients is slow yet inexorable. So far, there are no drugs that can halt this insidious process.

“This is an important step towards personalised drug development,” said study leader Ronan Fleming from Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg.

indianexpress.com
indianexpress.com

Parkinson’s disease is characterised, in particular, by death of dopamine-producing neurons in the Substantia-nigra of the midbrain.

It is already possible to grow these dopaminergic neurons in cell cultures.

“But most such cell cultures are two-dimensional, with the cells growing along the base of a petri dish, for example,” Fleming said.  He added, “Instead, we have the neurons grow in a gel that yields a far better model of their natural, three-dimensional environment.”

The scientists are confident that this system could greatly facilitate the continuing search for therapeutic agents in future as it models the natural conditions in the brain more realistically than other systems available so far.

It is also significantly cheaper to employ in the laboratory, the researchers said.

As a next step, Fleming’s team and their international collaborators want to study cells from patients and to test potential active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Promising substances will then be tested in mice, the researchers said.

The results were recently published in the journal Lab on a Chip.

(IANS)

Next Story

Smart Garments to Prevent Falls in Parkinson’s Patients

In addition, clinicians can monitor participants' progress remotely and adjust the programme to provide ongoing and personalised continuity of care

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10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay

A team of researchers are in the process of developing smart garment technologies that would prevent falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Falls, which are frequently caused by gait impairments and postural instability, are common and often devastating in the lives of people with Parkinson’s – a neurodegenerative disease.

The researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW) are set to make StandingTall-PD — a neuro-rehabilitation programme — that aims to prevent freezing-of-gait and falls, and enhance patients’ independence.

The programme uses visual, audio and haptic sensory cues to help rewire the parts of the brain that control walking and preventing falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.

The combination of visual, audio and sensory elements helps to form new connections in less affected parts of the brain, leading to improved walking ability, the researchers said.

Now, smart garments to prevent falls in Parkinson’s patients.

“Existing dopamine therapies offer benefit in treating motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s but may not alleviate gait and balance challenges,” said Jamie L. Hamilton, Associate Director at the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) in the US.

“The new programme has the potential to become an affordable option to address gait and balance issues and improve overall quality of life for people with Parkinson’s,” said Hamilton.

For the study, researchers will give participants a mat with colour-coded stepping targets, a pair of Sensoria Smart Socks, an iPad and phone.

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The programme can help enable participants to self-manage and monitor their own progress via an app on their phone. The app can also trigger stimuli during everyday activities, such as vibration in their Smart Socks, if they are in danger of experiencing freezing-of-gait, falls or if they show signs of shuffling feet.

In addition, clinicians can monitor participants’ progress remotely and adjust the programme to provide ongoing and personalised continuity of care. (IANS)