Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Spheramine for treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Spheramine (Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany) is currently being tested as a new approach for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). It consists of an active component of cultured human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells, attached to an excipient part of cross-linked porcine gelatin microcarrriers. Spheramine is administered by stereotactic implantation into the striatum of PD patients and the use of immunosuppression is not required. Current pharmacologic therapies of PD are oriented to the administration of dopaminergic medications. Human RPE cells produce levodopa, and this constitutes the rationale to use Spheramine for the treatment of PD. The preclinical development of Spheramine included extensive biologic, pharmacologic, and toxicologic studies in vitro and in animal models of PD. The first clinical trial in humans evaluated the safety and efficacy of Spheramine implanted in the postcommissural putamen contralateral to the most affected side in six patients with advanced PD. This open-label study demonstrated good tolerability and showed sustained motor clinical improvement. A phase II double-blind, randomized, multicenter, placebo-controlled (sham surgery) study is underway to evaluate safety, tolerability, and efficacy of Spheramine implanted bilaterally into the postcommissural putamen of patients with advanced PD. Spheramine represents a treatment approach with the potential of supplying a more continuous delivery of levodopa to the striatum in advanced PD than can be achieved with oral therapy alone.

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