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WCN 2023 | The future of regenerative medicine: overcoming immunosuppression requirements

Regenerative medicine-based approaches are in the spotlight in Parkinson’s disease (PD) research as potential treatment strategies capable of neurodegeneration reversal and thus, substantial disease modification. Alfonso Fasano, MD, PhD, from the University of Toronto, Canada, comments on the limitations of current technologies and how they may evolve in years to come. One key limitation facing current methodologies is the necessity of immunosuppressants. Recent preclinical studies revealed that co-implanting additional T-regulatory cells with dopaminergic stem cells could regulate the local immune response. This approach suggests a potential strategy for localized immunosuppression by introducing supplementary immune cells. Another tactic involves generating iPSCs that do not express the HLA surface antigen, a recognition marker for the immune system, although tumorigenesis risks must be considered. Recognizing Parkinson’s disease as more than solely a dopaminergic condition is also crucial; since various cell types degenerate, addressing only one aspect may prove insufficient in its treatment approach. 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.