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Science News

Study Shows Promise, Reinforces Potential of Stem-Cell Research

Researchers from the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem have published a study in the December 2004 issue of Stem Cells magazine which further demonstrates the potential promise of using embryonic stem cells as a treatment for Parkinsonís disease. This study confirms previous reports showing improved functioning in laboratory rats whose brains were implanted with human embryonic stem cells.

The Hadassah research team transplanted cultures of primitive nerve cells from human embryonic stem cells into the rat brain. The specific area of transplantation was one that did not contain dopaminergic nerve cells. After three months, scientists noted that some, although not many, of these transplanted cells had become dopaminergic nerve cells. In addition, the rats did experience an improvement in behavior but did not make a full recovery.

ďThe report represents a useful additional step in the scientific process of finding out how we can use stem cells to discover potential therapies and treatments,Ē said Robert Burke, MD, Columbia University Medical Center.

The research at the Hadassah hospital serves as additional proof of the promise held in exploring embryonic stem cells as a Parkinsonís therapy.

For more information on embryonic stem-cell research in mice, refer to the article cited below: Kim JH, Auerbach JM, Rodriguez-Gomez JA, Velasco I, Gavin D, Lumelsky N, Lee SH, Nguyen J, Sanchez-Pernaute R, Bankiewicz K, McKay R. Dopamine neurons derived from embryonic stem cells function in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. Nature 2002 Jul 4; 418(6893):50-6.

Source Date: Dec 23 2004