The cellular repair of the brain in Parkinson's disease-past, present and future.

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    • Abstract:
      Damage to the central nervous system was once considered irreparable. However, there is now growing optimism that neural transplant therapies may one day enable complete circuit reconstruction and thus functional benefit for patients with neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease (PD), and perhaps even those with more widespread damage such as stroke patients. Indeed, since the late 1980s hundreds of patients with Parkinson's disease have received allografts of dopamine-rich embryonic human neural tissue. The grafted tissue has been shown to survive and ameliorate many of the symptoms of the disease, both in the clinical setting and in animal models of the disease. However, practical problems associated with tissue procurement and storage, and ethical concerns over using aborted human fetal tissue have fuelled a search for alternative sources of suitable material for grafting. In particular, stem cells and xenogeneic embryonic dopamine-rich neural tissue are being explored, both of which bring their own practical and ethical dilemmas. Here we review the progress made in neural transplantation, both in the laboratory and in the clinic with particular attention to the development of stem cell and xenogeneic tissue based therapy. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]