Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil: The History of Stem Cell Therapies for Parkinson Disease


Henchcliffe discussed the progress that has been made in this area, and where things are headed going forward.

“We’re really in the position now where it should be possible to grow an unlimited cell source and be able to differentiate those cells into something that is, for all intents and purposes, an authentic, adult, mid-brain, substantia nigra, dopamine-producing neuron.”

Parkinson disease, while currently only managed symptomatically, mainly with treatment regimens including levodopa, has had a rich history of stem cell-derived therapeutic development. With prospective treatments and research dating back to the 1980s, the work being done now is far from the groundbreaking ceremony in this area.

Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil, is currently involved in the study of cell-based therapies for the condition. Although, even though she’s a member of the newer class of research, she is very aware of the stepping stones that were laid before her and her colleagues by research groups in the 1980s and 1990s.

The associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine, along with her colleagues in research, have utilized these older trials and scientific inquiries to better inform the current approaches to stem cell therapy. Coupled with the advances made in stem cell production, this base knowledge has provided invaluable information for new developments.

At the American Neurological Association’s 143rd Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, Henchcliffe sat with NeurologyLive to discuss the progress that has been made in this area, and where things are headed going forward.

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