19 Apr 2012

LCT plans Parkinson's disease clinical trials

11:15 am on 19 April 2012

Cell transplant research company Living Cell Technologies is planning to implant pig cells in the human brain in a clinical trial to treat Parkinson's disease.

The Australian-listed New Zealand-based company says the treatment involves transplanting choroid plexus cells, or "support" cells, from the brains of new-born Auckland Island pigs to help protect and repair damaged nerve tissue in the brains of Parkinson's sufferers.

Living Cell Technologies chief executive Andrea Grant told Evening Business on Checkpoint the company plans to apply for Medsafe permission to do the trial in May and, if approval is granted, to start first-phase trials by the end of March 2013.

Cells from the same pigs have been used in second-phase trials by LCT on 30 patients with type 1 diabetes, and Dr Grant says she's expecting a relatively smooth process getting the trials up and running.