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Marshall University researchers experimenting with possible new Parkinson's treatment

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Parkinson’s, stroke and other traumatic brain injuries can be hard to treat or even untreatable, but researchers at Marshall University have found a possible treatment option.

“Our goal is to basically redirect these stem cells from the nose and into other regions of the brain that may be impacted by disease,” said Dr. Elmer Price, a biology professor at Marshall University.

That’s the basis of his research for the treatment of brain injuries. After eight years of study, the National Science Foundation has awarded him a $350,000 research grant.

“We are using stem cells, but they are stem cells that are already in the brain,” said Dr. Price

Then he says a small cylinder made up of a Jell-O-type material is implanted in in the brain.

“That makes a new highway in the brain so the cells that usually migrate towards the olfactory bulb they will now actually take a new path made by that cylinder and end up in the brain that’s effected by Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Price.

“It’s encouraging,” said David Rubrecht who has lived with Parkinson’s for more than six years. “Will we find a cure for Parkinson’s? Probably not. Will we find a better life for people with Parkinson’s? We definitely will,” said Rubrecht.

“If it follows through to what the promise might be it would be very exciting,” said Tom Sporck, a Parkinson’s patient.

Dr. Price points out the work has to be replicated by other to deem the procedure safe.

“Those embryotic stem cells often times form tumors. That the biggest risk,” said Dr. Price, adding the procedure has only been tested in animals.

“We have never seen any long term damage. We’ve never seen any abnormal behaviors. We’ve never seen any scar tissue and that is with the animal model,” said Dr. Price.

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