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WCN 2023 | Regenerative medicine-based approaches in Parkinson’s disease

Alfonso Fasano, MD, PhD, from the University of Toronto, Canada, discusses advantages of regenerative medicine-based approaches for Parkinson’s disease (PD) treatment and introduces different methods under investigation. The main advantage of regenerative medicine is that it directly aims to reverse the neurodegenerative process, with possibilities for substantial impact on disease progression. Regenerative medicine aims to combat disease progression in four main ways in PD, the first of which is changing the nature of local tissues in the substantia nigra, to produce dopamine which will stimulate the striatum. Gene therapy is another technique, which aims to manipulate the genome through the introduction of genetic material via viral vectors or through editing relevant genes using techniques like CRISPR-Cas9. The use of neurotrophic factors such as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) to stimulate cell growth has also been proposed. Lastly, cell replacement therapy has been a promising avenue of recent research, which uses stem cells to engineer certain types of depleted cell such as dopaminergic neurons, although this method does bring with it logistical and ethical issues. This interview took place at the World Congress of Neurology (WCN) 2023 in Montreal, Canada.

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Dr Fasano reports the following disclosures:
Receipt of grants/research support: Boston Scientific, MJ Fox Foundation, Medtronic, University of Toronto, McLaughlin Centre
Receipt of honoraria or consultation fees: Abbott, Abbvie, American Academy of Neurology, Brainlab, Boston Scientific, Ceregate, Chiesi Farmaceutici, Inbrain, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, Ipsen, Medtronic, Novartis, TEVA Canada, UCB pharma, Sunovion
Participation in a company sponsored advisory board: Abbott, Abbvie, Boston Scientific, Ipsen, Medtronic, Sunovion