Old and new challenges in Parkinson's disease therapeutics

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Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and/or loss od neuronal projections, in several dopaminergic networks. Current treatments for idiopathic PD rely mainly on the use of pharmacologic agents to improve motor symptomatology of PD patients. Nevertheless, so far PD remains an incurable disease. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to establish new therapeutic strategies for PD treatment. Over the last 20 years, several molecular, gene and cell/stem-cell therapeutic approaches have been developed with the aim of counteracting or retarding PD progression. The scope of this review is to provide an overview of PD related therapies and major breakthroughs achieved within this field. In order to do so, this review will start by focusing on PD characterization and current treatment options covering thereafter molecular, gene and cell/stem cell-based therapies that are currently being studied in animal models of PD or have recently been tested in clinical trials. Among stem cell-based therapies, those using MSCs as possible disease modifying agents for PD therapy and, specifically, the MSCs secretome contribution to meet the clinical challenge of counteracting or retarding PD progression, will be more deeply explored.

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