The results of a phase 1 clinical trial from BlueRock Therapeutics were announced recently; the trial focused on a potential cell replacement therapy for people with Parkinson’s. The researchers reported this treatment was safe and well-tolerated among participants, and the company is now planning their next steps.

At the time of diagnosis, people with Parkinson’s have typically lost about 50% of the dopamine-producing neurons (nerve cells) in their brains. Dopamine is a signalling chemical, or neurotransmitter, that carries messages between neurons throughout the body and is critical for maintaining smooth movement and motor control. Dopamine is also involved with memory function, and feelings of pleasure, motivation and reward.

For some time, the research community has been experimenting with different approaches of replacing the dopamine neurons that are lost due to Parkinson’s.

Cell transplantation is one method of cell replacement that is happening now in clinical trials. One of the leading programmes for this is driven by BlueRock Therapeutics, a biotech company owned by Bayer. BlueRock recently announced the results of their phase 1 clinical study, which involved 12 individuals with Parkinson’s receiving dopamine neuron transplants. At 12 months post-surgery, the treatment was found to be safe and well-tolerated among trial participants. The company will now continue to monitor these participants over a longer period to evaluate whether the treatment can improve their motor function. Plans for a larger phase 2 trial are also underway, which BlueRock hopes to begin in early 2024.

Cure Parkinson’s has long been a supporter of cell replacement therapies, having provided funding for previous studies such as the TRANSEURO study, and we have interacted with the BlueRock researchers through our support of the G-FORCE consortium. We are pleased to see BlueRock achieve this milestone and look forward to future developments.

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