Seven years ago, California voted to fund stem cell research in the state. After a slow start, those efforts are now beginning to show some preliminary results.
Dr. Julie Andersen, of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, has been studying Parkinson's Disease, She hopes to use stem cells to duplicate the effects of the disease in the laboratory.
Another hopeful direction for Parkinson's research lies in the potential for using specially developed stem cells to replace diseased cells in a patient's brain. Progress is being made here, too, says Andersen, but some significant hurdles remain.
Patient advocate Chris Stiehl adds that this and other stem cell studies are offering new hope for understanding and treating several widespread diseases of the brain, in some cases using cell-level treatments.