Stem cells, delivered intranasally, have been found to substantially improve motor function in Parkinson’s disease in a study conducted by the US Alzheimer’s Research Center and the University Hospital of Tubingen in Germany.
The team had previously published a paper and filed for a patent on this intranasal stem cell delivery method and went on to study the therapeutic impact and long-term survival of the stem cells after they reached the brain. Their new study was published in Rejuvenation Research.
Using a rat model of Parkinson's disease, the research demonstrated that many of the stem cells delivered intranasally survived for at least six months in the brain; that the stem cells rapidly migrated preferentially to the damaged areas of the brain; and that motor control showed significant improvement.
This likely occurred because of the demonstrated anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of the intranasally administered stem cells, which were derived from bone marrow.
Intranasal administration of stem cells to the brain is a promising and noninvasive alternative to current surgical procedures. It also opens up the possibility of chronic stem cell treatment, which would increase the number of cells delivered to the brain and likely enhance the therapeutic benefit.