Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Stem Cell Hope For Parkinson's

Researchers in Bonn have developed a method of culturing an indefinite supply of replacement neural stem cells -- including the cells that fail in Parkinson's -- from a single embryonic source.
"The new cells, in contrast, serve as an inexhaustible source: they provide a supply of human neural cells over periods of months and years without demanding any recourse to supplementary embryonic stem cells", declares Professor Dr. Oliver Brüstle, head of the research team at the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology at Bonn University.

Using animal experiments, the researchers in Bonn provided direct proof that these artificially derived neural cells will also function. Transplanted into the brain of a mouse, these cells made contact with the recipient brain and were subsequently able both to send and receive signals. "This is the first direct evidence that neural cells derived from human stem cells are capable of synaptic integration in the brain", declares Dr. Philipp Koch, the original author of the study. The scientists in Bonn are now also hoping to exploit this inexhaustible cell source to study neurodegenerative diseases and possible active agents directly in human neural cells. _MNT
If scientists can prevent the rejection of donor stem cells, the pathway toward routine replacement of aging brain tissue is now being constructed. Adult induced pluripotent stem cells from the patient herself is the best means for preventing rejection of tissue and stem cell implants. But if embryonic cell and tissue banks are able to carry a large "on-demand" supply of suitable cells, they will be quite useful.

Clearly the promise of stem cell research applies to other diseases besides Parkinson's, and to other organs besides the brain.

The problem for the US -- where funding for the development of new embryonic stem cell lines is expected to be expanded -- is the overall economy. The new government appears not to understand how a market economy recovers from a recession -- a recession that was brought on by bad government policies to begin with. A helpful hint to Obama and Pelosi: get rid of those bad government policies! (CRA etc)



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