Xenografts in Parkinsons Disease

Human xenografts have been used in animal models to study principles of neurotransplantation or mechanisms of brain degeneration. More often, xenotransplantation has been tested with the goal to explore alternative sources of mesencephalic fetal tissues for grafting into the degenerating brain. Studies using porcine fetal cells in rats showed that the grafts survived and integrated successfully in the host. Currently, there are several ongoing clinical trials to assess the feasibility of porcine xenografts in PD and HD patients, and the preliminary data suggest that this may be a safe procedure. The efficacy still has to be determined, although initial reports note measurable improvement in some patients. We believe that xenotransplants will not play a significant role in neural restoration if human cells and tissues can be obtained.

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