Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pharmacology and Toxicology

Committee Chair

Sankar, Uma

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

States, J. Christopher

Committee Member

Hagg, Theo

Author's Keywords

Parkinson's disease; Neurodegenerative diseases; Stem cells; Treatment of Parkinson's disease; Regenerative medicine; Therapeutic approaches in Parkinson's disease


Parkinson's disease--Treatment; Stem cells--Therapeutic use


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a hypokinetic movement disorder resulting from the progressive neurodegeneration of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal system in the brain and the resulting imbalance between dopamine and acetylcholine in the basal ganglia motor circuitry. Although drug-based therapy approaches have shown dramatic symptomatic improvement in patients, they do not halt the progressive nature of the disease and their long-term use is associated with distressing adverse side effects. Consequently, several studies have aimed at discovering effective non-pharmacological strategies to reduce or to eliminate the need for drugs and possibly to halt or to reverse the neurodegenerative process in PD. Surgical deep brain stimulation, neurotrophic factor delivery, gene therapy and cell replacement therapy are potential candidates. Here, we review the latest advancements in the aforementioned therapeutic strategies paying special attention to regenerative stem cell- (SC)-based approaches in combating PD. Although intracerebrally transplanted SC-derived cells can replace degenerated neurons in PD and simultaneously secrete neurotrophic factors that can partly protect the viable ones, potential tumorigenicity and low survivability of these cells hinder the advancement of this novel therapeutic approach. Hence, more investigations are needed to resolve the associated safety and efficacy concerns in order to make SC-based therapy a feasible therapy for PD patients.