Publication date: Jul 14, 2023
Three years ago, Kim’s team demonstrated that personalized cell therapy could be used to replace dopamine neurons in the first personalized cell therapy in a sporadic Parkinson’s disease patient. “Regulatory T cells not only improved the survival of grafted dopaminergic neurons but also significantly suppressed the outgrowth of non-dopaminergic cells, including reactive inflammatory cells, in host brains. Investigators used regulatory T cells to supplement neuronal cell therapy and decrease adverse effects of the surgical procedure in rodent models. “We have now made a major breakthrough using immune cells to improve delivery, survival, and recovery for neuronal cell therapies. Researchers have proposed diverse mechanisms to explain the cell death and added various modifications to improve cell survival. “Initially, just one or two weeks after transplantation, the majority of the dopamine neurons died, rendering the cell therapy unsuccessful,” said Kim. However, the regulatory T cells were able to suppress the death, along with the adverse neuroinflammation and unwanted peripheral immune cells entering the injury site.