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Fighting Parkinson’s

Development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Scripps Research
La Jolla, CA Dr. Jeanne Loring
Dr. Andrés Bratt-Leal

The National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) partnered with Summit for Stem Cell to support the development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California.

The research project is directed by Dr. Andrés Bratt-Leal in the lab of Dr. Jeanne Loring, founding Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Scripps Research. The aim of the research is to use a patient’s own skin cells to create normal dopamine-producing neurons that can be returned to the patient without rejection. Dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to areas of the brain that control movement and coordination, is decreased in Parkinson’s when dopamine-producing neurons malfunction or die.

This patient-specific therapy has the potential to halt or reverse the damage of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, including ALS.

Biography for Dr. Loring:

Dr. Loring earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Washington and her Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology from the University of Oregon.

She has held research and management positions at several biotechnology companies and is Professor Emeritus and the founding Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Scripps Research La Jolla, California. She is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Aspen Neuroscience, developing a cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

Among her notable projects are the development of a personalized stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease and creation of the “stem cell zoo,” a bank of pluripotent stem cells generated from endangered species. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles which have been cited nearly 5,000 times.

Dr. Loring serves on scientific advisory and bioethics boards for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government, and charitable foundations. She is also a member of the prestigious G-Force PD, a global initiative coordinating stem cell-based dopamine treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

Biography for Dr. Bratt-Leal:

Dr. Bratt-Leal received his B.S. from the University of Washington and his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech and Emory University in the field of Biomedical Engineering.

His specialty lies in the field of directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, including differentiating stem cells towards dopaminergic neurons (the cells which are lost in the progression of Parkinson’s disease.)

He joined the Loring lab at Scripps Research specifically to work on the Parkinson’s project and is now Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Aspen Neuroscience.

July 27, 2016

“Scientists Receive Funding to Advance Stem-Cell Based Parkinson’s Therapy”
Drug Discovery and Development, July 27, 2016

Jeanne Loring will be leading a two-year project funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to support safety and quality tests for a potential stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

Read more.