Just maybe stem cells will help
For those of you who oppose stem cell use here is news.
restored in CU
By Michael Booth
The Denver Post
Posted: 03/03/2011 01:00:00 AM MST
Updated: 03/03/2011 10:35:14 AM MST
Support cells strained from human stem cells and
transplanted into paralyzed lab rats repair
damaged nerve systems remarkably quickly and
help the rats walk again, according to CU
researchers, who say the experiments could
extend to injured humans within two years.
Working with University of Rochester scientists,
University of Colorado School of Medicine
researchers made "a huge step" in treating
spinal-cord injuries, according to a paper
published in the peer-reviewed online journal
The rapid improvement in paralyzed rats has
"very exciting" possibilities to repair other
nervous-system damage from strokes, traumatic
brain injury, and Parkinson's, Alzhei mer's and
Lou Gehrig's diseases, said CU medical-school
researcher Stephen Davies.
"We were able to show that we could bring near-
complete restor ation of normal movement,"
Previous studies have shown that isolating the
same form of rat cells for transplant can bring
improvements in rats, but the latest step
advances to using human stem cells and an
isolate called astrocytes, said lead study author
Chris Proschel, assistant professor of genetics at
the University of Rochester Medical Center.
"What's really striking is the robustness of the
effect," Proschel said. "Scientists have claimed
repair of spinal-cord injuries in rats before, but
the benefits have been variable and rarely as
strong as what we've seen with our transplants."
The research isolated cells called astrocytes
from human stem cells. Previous experiments
assumed less-refined stem cells could be
transplanted with good results; the Colorado-
Rochester experiments found that by turning the
stem cells into the right form of astrocytes
before transplant, improvements in the injured
rats came much more quickly and reliably.
The researchers will now branch out their testing
on rats, implanting the isolated form of cell to
target more severe and complex spinal-cord
injuries. They also will pursue eventual clinical
tests on injured humans, meanwhile trying to
cultivate usable cells from adult or preapproved
embryonic stem-cell lines.
"Now the challenge is how rapidly can we
translate these discoveries from the lab for use