Patients accept therapy using embryonic stem cells for Parkinson’s disease: a discrete choice experiment

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Background: New disease-modifying ways to treat Parkinson’s disease (PD) may soon become a reality with intracerebral transplantation of cell products produced from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The aim of this study was to assess what factors influence preferences of patients with PD regarding stem-cell based therapies to treat PD in the future. Methods: Patients with PD were invited to complete a web-based discrete choice experiment to assess the importance of the following attributes: (i) type of treatment, (ii) aim of treatment, (iii) available knowledge of the different types of treatments, (iv) effect on symptoms, and (v) risk for severe side effects. Latent class conditional logistic regression models were used to determine preference estimates and heterogeneity in respondents’ preferences. Results: A substantial difference in respondents’ preferences was observed in three latent preference patterns (classes). “Effect on symptoms” was the most important attribute in class 1, closely followed by “type of treatment,” with medications as preferred to other treatment alternatives. Effect on symptoms was also the most important attribute in class 2, with treatment with hESCs preferred over other treatment alternatives. Likewise for class 3, that mainly focused on “type of treatment” in the decision-making. Respondents’ class membership was influenced by their experience in treatment, side effects, and advanced treatment therapy as well as religious beliefs. Conclusions: Most of the respondents would accept a treatment with products emanating from hESCs, regardless of views on the moral status of embryos. Preferences of patients with PD may provide guidance in clinical decision-making regarding treatments deriving from stem cells.




Bywall, K. S., Drevin, J., Groothuis-Oudshoorn, C., Veldwijk, J., Nyholm, D., Widner, H., … Johansson, J. V. (2023). Patients accept therapy using embryonic stem cells for Parkinson’s disease: a discrete choice experiment. BMC Medical Ethics, 24(1).

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