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Stem Cell Research

Stem Cells Could Help in Cancer, Spine Injury

20 years, 10 months ago

9810  0
Posted on May 30, 2003, 11 a.m. By Bill Freeman

At the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, two reports encourage the use of stem cells -- master cells that are used to renew brain cells, blood cells and other cells -- to treat both cancer and spinal cord injuries. Dr. Karen Aboody and colleagues at Children's Hospital in Boston injected stem cells into the brains of the mice, where the cells migrated to the tumors; when the neural stem cells were injected into a distant site from the main tumor mass, the cells also moved to the tumor.

At the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, two reports encourage the use of stem cells -- master cells that are used to renew brain cells, blood cells and other cells -- to treat both cancer and spinal cord injuries. Dr. Karen Aboody and colleagues at Children's Hospital in Boston injected stem cells into the brains of the mice, where the cells migrated to the tumors; when the neural stem cells were injected into a distant site from the main tumor mass, the cells also moved to the tumor. These findings suggest that stem cells are somehow attracted to the tumor or the surrounding brain damage it causes. The researchers said stem cells might be used to carry genes that could help stop the tumors, or perhaps even kill them. Dr. Todd Stewart of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleagues conducted a study using embryonic stem cells -- which are taken from extremely early embryos left over from infertility treatments -- to try to treat spinal cord injuries. Nine days after forty rats incurred spinal cord injuries, the team injected stem cells into the spinal cords of half the rats. Within three weeks, the rats who got the injections were clearly able to move their back legs better than the rats who were not treated. The researchers conclude that this approach to stem cell therapy represents a potential means for repairing that communication block and reversing some of the damage from spinal cord injuries.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: reported by CNN.com 4/10/00

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