By Medical reporter Sophie Scott (http://www.abc.net.au/profiles/content/s1889080.htm?site=news) Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:45pm AEST
Australian scientists have discovered that stem cells found in the back of a patient's nose can produce the chemical which is missing in people with Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease occurs when the brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine stop working.
Without dopamine, nerve cells cannot function, leading to muscle problems.
Researchers from Griffith University and the University of Queensland harvested adult stem cells from the noses of Parkinson's disease patients.
They found that once the nose cells were cultured and infused into animals with Parkinson's disease, the cells began to produce dopamine.
Professor Peter Silburn from the University of Queensland said it was an important breakthrough, as the cells could be easily harvested from patients.
He said the next step was to test the cells in primates, then move to human trials in the next three years.
4 years ago