“Right now we’re very optimistic—it’s not a cure and there are obvious caveats—but we’re really excited to take the first step and get this into a first-in-human trial and start learning.”

In Parkinson disease, despite having a gold standard therapy for treatment in levodopa, patients often experience off periods where their symptoms return as a result of the medication wear off. Although treatments exist to help maximize levodopa and minimize that off time, it remains a challenge.

Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil, and her colleagues would like to change that. They are conducting a first-in-human, open-label study using MSK-DA01, a cellular therapy which aims to replenish the dopaminergic cell loss that occurs in Parkinson. While the therapy still has a long way to go, reaching human clinical trials is a milestone.

To explain more about the planned trial of these cells, the associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine sat with NeurologyLive in an interview. Henchcliffe spoke to the specifics of the trial as well as the investigators’ goals.