For many years, research involving Parkinson’s disease has been in progress. Although as yet there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, hopes are high that even though it may yet take a number of years more, a cure will ultimately become available.
There have been many research projects conducted into looking for a cure for Parkinson’s disease, including controversial embryonic stem and adult stem cells research.
Opinions about using stem cells in research can run extremely high, especially when embryonic cells are used. Many people feel using this type of material for research is crosses an ethical boundary, and should be banned despite the embryo’s being the product of in-vitro fertilisation. The idea behind stem cell research in this case is the hypotheses that these cells can be provoked to replace those lost during the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Adult stem cell research is about exploring whether these cells can be used in the same way as embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells are collected from the bone marrow of an adult, and because there is a greater degree of consent implied in this harvesting, this research is not the subject of controversial ethical problems such as those posed by embryonic stem cell research. One drawback of using adult stem cells is they are not believed to be as effective in replacing lost cells as are the embryonic cells.
Other research studies currently in progress include the study of neurotrophic factors. Studies into animals using this branch of research have discovered that using these factors can assist in reviving inactive brain cells. If this can be replicated in humans, then it would show a remarkable improvement in their symptoms and if not cure their Parkinson’s disease, it would assist in controlling it effectively.
There are some thoughts that environmental and genetic factors play a significant role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. One of the most significant pieces of research that is currently being conducted is actually looking at these factors and trying to discover the trigger that sets off Parkinson’s disease in a particular person.
It can be argued that if these triggers are discovered, it would be a major step in not only being able to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease, but doctors would ultimately be able to discover who is at risk of contracting the disease and ultimately ensure preventative measures are used.