The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) Continues to Caution Against Unproven Cell-Based Therapies for Parkinson's Disease

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The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society’s Scientific Issues Committee (MDS-SIC) has commissioned a brief review of the current place of cell-based therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD), and ultimately encourages patients to participate only in cell therapy studies that are part of a research program affiliated with a recognized academic or clinical institution.

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MDS hopes to stop this practice by educating the public on the importance of participating only in studies at accredited research institutions.

The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society’s Scientific Issues Committee (MDS-SIC), led by Stella Papa and Un Jung Kang, has commissioned a brief review of the current place of cell-based therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD), and ultimately encourages patients to participate only in cell therapy studies that are part of a research program affiliated with a recognized academic or clinical institution.

Theoretically, cell-based therapies, including the use of stem cells, could be used to replace or repair the cells lost or damaged in the disease process, thereby improving symptoms. While advances in cell-based research may ultimately provide potential new therapies for patients with PD, science has yet to fully establish a number of challenging aspects of stem cell therapy including specific cell type, method of administration, clinical effect and long-term safety.

Several business enterprises worldwide offer ‘stem cell therapies’ for PD, making unsubstantiated claims of considerable benefit to the patient. Due to the potential for very serious side effects, the Society cautions patients to avoid any treatments carried out without adequate scientific research, and encourages patients to participate only in cell therapies affiliated with a recognized research institution.

MDS President, Claudia Trenkwalder, adds, “This timely statement is an excellent scientific summary of the risks for persons with Parkinson’s disease when selecting a treatment offering which is not scientifically, but purely economically driven. MDS hopes to stop this practice by educating the public on the importance of participating only in studies at accredited research institutions.”

Read the full MDS statement and position paper cautioning against unproven cell-based therapies for Parkinson's disease.

About the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society: The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), an international society of over 10,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about MDS, visit http://www.movementdisorders.org.

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Elizabeth Clausen
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