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Dopaminergic neuronal differentiation of human adipose stem cells
Parkinson’s disease is caused by the death of certain brain cells (dopaminergic neurons). Despite intensive research, the disease mechanism underlying Parkinson’s disease is still poorly understood and there is no real cure available. Understanding of the disease mechanism will considerably help the ability to develop a cure. The biggest barrier to research on Parkinson’s disease has been the inaccessibility of the affected brain cells (dopaminergic neurons) from patients during life. We propose a new approach in which fat (adipose) tissue is used. A small amount of fat tissue will be collected by liposuction. We will isolate stem cells from the fat tissue. Stem cells have the unique ability to turn into many different cell types. Once we have isolated the fat stem cells, we will turn them into the type of brain cells that is affected in Parkinson’s patients. These brain cells will be cultured in the laboratory and extensively tested to confirm that these cells indeed represent the type of brain cells affected in Parkinson’s patients. In this application, we propose to use fat tissue from healthy people to make the type of brain cells that are affected in Parkinson’s patients. Once we have demonstrated that we are indeed able to do this, then we will apply for further funding to use fat tissue from Parkinson’s patients. This work will open the door to a thorough investigation of Parkinson’s disease in a cell type that is affected in patients. In addition, these brain cell cultures can be used to test new drugs.
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