Researchers at UTHealth have demonstrated in rats that transplanting genetically modified adult stem cells into an injured spinal cord can help restore the electrical pathways associated with movement. The results are published in today’s issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
In spinal cord injury, demyelination, or the destruction of the myelin sheath in the central nervous system, occurs. The myelin sheath, produced by cells called oligodendrocytes, wraps around the axons of nerves and helps speed activity and insulate electrical conduction. Without it, the nerves cannot send messages to make muscles move.
The research team, led by Qilin Cao, M.D., principal investigator
Researchers from North Carolina State University have identified a gene that tells embryonic stem cells in the brain when to stop producing nerve cells called neurons. The research is a significant advance in understanding the development of the nervous system, which is essential to addressing conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.
The bulk of neuron production in the central nervous system takes place before birth, and comes to a halt by birth. But scientists have identified specific regions in the core of the brain that retain stem cells into adulthood and continue to produce new
In a study at the University of California, San Diego and VA San Diego Healthcare, researchers were able to regenerate “an astonishing degree” of axonal growth at the site of severe spinal cord injury in rats. Their research revealed that early stage neurons have the ability to survive and extend axons to form new, functional neuronal relays across an injury site in the adult central nervous system (CNS).
The study also proved that at least some types of adult CNS axons can overcome a normally inhibitory growth environment to grow over long distances. Importantly, stem cells across species
Dr. Karen Aboody estimates that she has cured several hundred mice of a cancer of the central nervous system called neuroblastoma.
First she injected them with specialized neural stem cells that naturally zero in on the tumors and surround them. Then she administered an anti-cancer agent that the cells converted into a highly toxic drug (…)
For 3 1/2 years, the agency focused on the basic groundwork needed to someday use human embryonic stem cells to replace body parts damaged by injury or disease. Such cures are still far in the future.
Now the institute has a more immediate goal: boosting therapies
Stem cells from the brain could be transplanted into the ear to cure hearing loss.
Often, age and overstimulation can damage ciliated cells that act like small microphones, allowing us to hear sounds, noise, and voices and are located in the deep ear (cochlea). About 10% of people experience damage to the cells in this area which leads to hearing loss. The loss of these cells is irreversible, but according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a group of scientists from the University of California substituted them with stem cells taken from another area