Monday, August 23, 2010

Repairing Spinal Cord Injury With Manipulated Neural Stem Cells

Image of spineScienceDaily (Aug. 18, 2010) — "One of the most common causes of disability in young adults is spinal cord injury. Currently, there is no proven reparative treatment. Hope that neural stem cells (NSCs) might be of benefit to individuals with severe spinal cord injury has now been provided by the work of a team of researchers, led by Kinichi Nakashima, at Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, in a mouse model of this devastating condition.

In the study, mice with severe spinal cord injury were transplanted with NSCs and administered a drug known as valporic acid, which is used in the treatment of epilepsy. The valporic acid promoted the transplanted NSCs to generate nerve cells, rather than other brain cell types, and the combination therapy resulted in impressive restoration of hind limb function. The authors hope that this approach, whereby the fate of transplanted NSCs is amnipulated, for example by administration of valporic acid, could be developed as an effective treatment for severe spinal cord injury."

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