Stereotaxic intrastriatal implantation of human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells attached to gelatin microcarriers: A potential new cell therapy for Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • Human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells are dopaminergic support cells in the neural retina. Stereotaxic intrastriatal implantation of hRPE cells attached to gelatin microcarriers (Spheramine®) in rodent and non-human primate models of Parkinson's disease (PD) produces long term amelioration of motor and behavioral deficits, with histological and PET evidence of cell survival without immunosuppression. Long-term safety in cynomologous monkeys has also been demonstrated. Six H&Y stage III/IV PD patients were enrolled in a one-year, open-label, single center study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Spheramine (∼325,000 cells) implanted in the most affected post-commissural putamen. All patients tolerated the implantation of Spheramine® well and demonstrated improvement. At 6, 9, and 12 months post-operatively, the mean UPDRS-Motor score "off", the primary outcome measure, improved 33%, (n = 6), 42% (n = 6), and 48% (n = 3), respectively. No "off-state" dyskinesias have been observed. Based on these preliminary results, Spheramine® appears to show promise in treating late stage PD patients.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Watts RL; Raiser CD; Stover NP; Cornfeldt ML; Schweikert AW; Allen RC; Subramanian T; Doudet D; Honey CR; Bakay RAE
  • Start Page

  • 215
  • End Page

  • 227
  • Issue

  • 65