Dolly creator offers himself as guinea pig for research
This file photo shows the cloned sheep Dolly at seven months.
Two decades after creating the clone Dolly the sheep and paving the way for new research into Parkinson’s. Dr
The professor, aged 73, who lives in
“Initiatives of this kind are very effective not only because they bring more people together but because they will include people with different experience and expertise,” Wilmut said.
He was referring to the new Dundee-Edinburgh Parkinson’s Research Initiative, which aims to investigate the causes of the disease and to translate scientific discoveries into new therapies.
“It was from such a rich seedbed that Dolly developed, and we can hope for similar benefits in this project,” Wilmut added.
In 1996, he and a team of scientists at the
The achievement shocked researchers who had said it could not be done.
But Dolly’s birth proved that cells from anywhere in the body could behave like a newly fertilised egg, an idea that transformed scientific thinking and encouraged researchers to find techniques to reprogramme adult cells.
The new research led to the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which hold great promise as a therapy for Parkinson’s because of their potential to repair damaged tissues, according to the Dundee-Edinburgh Parkinson’s Research Initiative.
These stem cells are now being used at the
“All attempts to slow the progression of Parkinson’s have thus far failed,” Professor
He highlighted that the most widely used Parkinson’s drug today, levodopa, was first used in the clinic in 1967.
“However, in recent years, our knowledge of the genetics and biology underlining Parkinson’s disease has exploded,” Alessi said.
“I feel optimistic and it is not unrealistic that with a co-ordinated research effort, major strides towards better treating Parkinson’s disease can be made.”
Wilmut said he decided to announce his diagnosis because he thought it might be useful in the context of research.
“There was a sense of clarity, well, at least now we know, and we can start doing things about it,” he said in an interview with
“As well as, obviously, the disappointment that it will possibly shorten my life slightly, and more particularly it will alter the quality of life.”
He lives in a hilly and rural part of
Wilmut told The
Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement and can cause involuntary shaking.
Treatments are available to manage the symptoms, but there is no medicine or therapy to slow or stop the progression of the disease.
“People with Parkinson’s urgently require access to earlier and more accurate diagnosis, better prediction of how their disease will progress and, most importantly, the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of new treatments,” Dr
Dolly died in 2003 after a lung infection, and her body was donated to the