Now stem cell treatment for paralysed patients

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

LONDON - Japanese scientists claimed to have found a novel method of stem cell treatment that can cure paralysed patients.

The research team at Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, found that stem cells taken from brain could be used to restore movement in people with spinal cord injuries.

Experts said the breakthrough can help create a spare set of matching cells, which could be used to “repair” such damage.

During the study, researchers transplanted “neural stem cells” (NSCs) to mice with severe spinal cord injuries. The mice were later given a drug known as valproic acid, which is used in the treatment of epilepsy.

The findings revealed that the acid promoted the transplanted stem cells to generate nerve cells, rather than other brain cell types.

The team concluded that the “combination therapy resulted in impressive restoration of hind limb function”.

Lead researcher Kinichi Nakashima said the new method could be developed as an effective treatment for severe spinal cord injuries.

“The body’s capacity to restore damaged neural networks in the injured… is severely limited,” quoted him as saying.

“Although various treatment regimens can partially alleviate spinal cord injury, the mechanisms responsible for symptomatic improvement remain elusive.

“These findings raise the possibility that (stem cells)… can be manipulated to provide effective treatment for spinal cord injuries,” he added.

The study appears in the Journal of Clincal Investigation.

will not be displayed