Researchers continue to move towards the use of stem cells to treat neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's. Via PhysOrg.com: "[The] study showed that only a small number of stem cells turned into dopamine-producing cells - not enough to improve the primates' function by replacing missing neurons. Instead, some stem cells turned into astrocytes, a supportive brain cell that produces neuron-nourishing chemicals. ... [we] have been arguing, for some time now, that stem cells are important for brain repair because they provide growth factors and because they send signals to the brain to help it repair itself. This study in primates showed the same effects that the stem cells are there to act as facilators of repair versus the original hypothesis that stem cells are transplanted to merely replace an injured cell ... We hear about new sources of stem cells monthly, but how we take those cells and treat disease is going to be a significant amount of translational work. This is one of the first studies that starts that process - looking at primates before going into people with Parkinson's disease ... Pending further preclinical studies, the results so far from the current study are supportive for developing a safe and effective stem cell treatment for Parkinson's disease."