Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Blank" Stem Cells

Cambridge scientists have used stem cells that were "reprogrammed" from ordinary skin cells to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson's disease in rodents, illustrating the vast medical potential of this new type of stem cell.

In the study, rats whose midbrains were damaged in a way to closely mimic Parkinson's received transplants of healthy neurons cultivated from reprogrammed stem cells. These are basically biological "blank slates" that are believed to have the same capacity as embryonic stem cells to be turned into nerves, organs, bloods, bone, or any other cell type.

The brain-damaged rats had wandered in uncontrollable circles. After the treatment, however, eight of the nine test rats "showed markedly less or even no circling," according to Marius Wernig, a scientist at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and lead author of the research. - Boston Globe

Anything non-embryonic is good stem cell wise.

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