Spinal Cord Injuries & Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease became a landmark in history of fetal precursor cell transplantation when a series of such treatments was carried out in Mexico City in 1980’s on a group of patients suffering from an advanced stage of this incurable illness with various degrees of success.

A term neurotransplantation has been coined for such treatment.

Treatment of diseases of central nervous system by fetal precursor cell transplantation requires also an implantation into the brain and spinal cord, even though not necessarily into the body of these organs. The implantation can be ‘intrathecal’, i.e. into the cerebrospinal fluid, a vitally important fluid for the function of central nervous system, which circulates in the preformed spaces around and in the brain and spinal cord.

This is the least traumatic method of neurotransplantation as there is but minimal trauma to the brain tissues of the patient (i.e. intraventricular implantation), and no trauma when cells are implanted into spinal canal.

Spinal cord injuries, old or recent, have been considered a supreme challenge. Prior to July 1, 2005, we have treated 20 patients with old spinal cord injuries and 17 of them had an improvement after only one course of intrathecal BCRO fetal precursor cell transplantation.

The existing treatments of all degenerative diseases suffer from one common problem: no attempt at regeneration of degenerating cells of diseased organs and tissues is ever made. The sole treatment capable of direct stimulation of regeneration is cell transplantation.

And that applies primarily to degenerative diseases of central nervous system, all incurable by definition.

Treatment of neurological diseases has always been a sad chapter of medicine due to lack of effective therapy for great majority of diseases. Here Parkinson’s disease has been a bright exception because of availability of levodopa therapy, which controls symptoms of disease quite well for several years.

Ultimately every patient with Parkinson’s disease will reach a stage when medications which stimulate production of a neurotransmitter dopamine by neurons of the pertinent part of the brain stop working, whereupon life becomes a pure misery. Ideally, already before that happens, each patient should undergo BCRO fetal precursor cell transplantation.

Unfortunately neurotransplantation treatment of Parkinson’s disease has not been as successful in clinical practice (rate of success > 5%) as under experimental conditions (rate of success ~ 95%).

The enormous discrepancy between the high success of neurotransplantation in animal experiment and low success in clinical practice, is unusual.

The recently completed U.S. National Institute of Health clinical trial ended in a failure. Part of the problem was that researchers were more concerned about fulfilling requirements of double-blind study, including unethical and immoral ‘sham surgery’, than to help desperate patients.

Fetal precursor cell transplantation, usually reserved to untreatable or incurable diseases, is hardly suitable for ‘double-blind’ clinical studies.

Scientists believed that the reason for such lack of success was that the neurons in adult human brain and spinal cord could not recover from serious damage. And once dead, neurons could not be replaced.

In the last few years stem cells were found in three different parts of the adult brain, which implies that regeneration of damaged brain tissue should be possible, and that applies to neurons that carry nerve impulses, as well as to supporting glial cells, without which neurons cannot survive.

Since it has been known that fetal precursor cell transplantation is the sole treatment available to medicine today to directly regenerate cells, tissues and organs, the unfortunate neurological patients have hope again, as our great success in the treatment of old spinal cord injury patients have proved beyond any doubt.

Our success with several patients with Parkinson’s disease was ~ 95%. In one study published in 1994 we used a combination of human fetal and Drosophila brain tissues for neurotransplantation.

We treated over 500 patients with a variety of advanced incurable degenerative diseases of spinal cord and brain, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, other spino-cerebellar degenerations, etc., and lately also patients with old spinal cord injuries, via implantation of fetal brain cells into the spinal canal.

In another published study of 14 patients, treated by implantation of fetal brain cells into the spinal canal, there was a group of 9 patients that were in deep coma for several days, due to severe brain hemorrhage, severe head injury, of which two patients (anaphylactic shock after antibiotic injection; general anesthesia mishap during cataract surgery) passed through clinical death twice.

All 9 patients woke up from coma within 24 hours after BCRO fetal precursor cell transplantation.

An implantation of fetal brain cells (with cells) have been tried during the past 15 years to help patients with a variety of neurological diseases, for which treatment is not known, such as genetic diseases, injuries, cerebrovascular accidents, etc., or for which treatment had lost its effectiveness in the course of the progression of illness, such as Parkinson’s disease, etc.), but the success rate has been very low. The main reason has been a very low viability of implanted human fetal brain cells, which have been used ‘fresh’, rather than prepared by tissue culture.

Unless human fetal brain cells are kept in tissue culture up until the last moment before surgery, the viability of implanted cells will always be a big unknown. To implant dead brain cells is meaningless.

In the recent clinical trial in Florida 10 patients with Parkinson’s disease received transplantation of fetal neural cells of animal origin in order to eliminate the problem of viability.

This trial proved that xeno-neuro-transplantation is tolerated equally well by patients as when human fetal brain cells are implanted.