New animal studies provide additional support for investigating stem cell treatments for Parkinson's disease, head trauma, and dangerous heart problems that accompany spinal cord injury, according to research findings released today.
The work, presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health, shows scientists making progress toward using stem cell therapies to repair neurological damage.
The studies focused on using stem cells to produce neurons -- essential, message-carrying cells in the brain and spinal cord. The loss of neurons and the connections they make for controlling critical bodily functions are the chief hallmarks of brain and spinal cord injuries and of neurodegenerative afflictions such as Parkinson's disease and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Today's new findings show that:
Other recent findings discussed show that:
"As the fields of developmental and regenerative neuroscience mature, important progress is being made to begin to translate the promise of stem cell therapy into meaningful treatments for a range of well-defined neurological problems," said press conference moderator Jeffrey Macklis, MD, of Harvard University and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, an expert on development and regeneration of the mammalian central nervous system. "Solid, rigorous, and well-defined pre-clinical work in animals can set the stage toward human clinical trials and effective future therapies."
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