This health video will focus on the new break through in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Matthews: A few short years ago Dennis Turner would hardly have been able to hold his paper or his orange juice. Dennis Turner: The hand would shake and make you feel ugly. Your balance was kind of affected. Jennifer Matthews: But Dennis took back his life when underwent a revolutionary procedure. It involved the transplantation of his own brain stem cells. Dennis Turner: They were not fetal cells, they were my cells, so I wouldn't have to take any anti-rejection medication the rest of my life. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors took some of Dennis's stems cells and introduced chemicals that force the cells to change form. They became neurons that secrete dopamine. A critical substance lacking in Parkinson's patients. Months later, the new cells were implanted into Dennis. Dr. Michel Levesque: We amplify the number by several millions and then the kind of cells that we introduce are mature neurons, whereas initially we harvested a few 20-50 stems cells. Jennifer Matthews: Dennis is now 80% better than he was before the procedure, that means he can once again do the things the rest of us take for granted. Dennis Turner: I don't have the stiffness in the arms anymore. I can put my contacts in without having to hit and mess and poke myself in the eye. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors caution it's too early to be sure the procedure works as well as it seems. But if Dennis's case is no fluke, researchers could be looking at a Parkinson's breakthrough. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.