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|Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:19 pm Post subject: Future of Neuroscience Conference: Stem Cells and Neurologic
|Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Released: Fri 24-Mar-2006, 12:00 ET
Embargo expired: Fri 07-Apr-2006, 13:35 ET
Bone Marrow Cells, Hydrogels May Improve Stem Cell Therapy Prospects
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NEUROLOGY, STEM CELLS THERAPY, BONE BARROW
The prospects for stem cell repair of the nervous system may be advanced by the use of cells derived from bone marrow, and the use of a hydrogel to direct cell growth.
Newswise — The prospects for stem cell repair of the nervous system may be advanced by the use of cells derived from bone marrow, and the use of a hydrogel to direct cell growth, according to two studies that will be presented at a special session on stem cell research the American Academy of Neurology 58th Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif., April 1 – 8, 2006.
The first study explored the therapeutic potential of bone marrow-derived multi-potent progenitor cells. These cells have the ability to develop into a variety of cell types, including cells of the nervous system, according to Cesar Borlongan, PhD, of the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia. Borlongan and colleagues tested the potential of both human and rat stem cells to repair the nervous system in rats with experimentally induced stroke. Within a week of transplantation, both human and rat stem cells led to dose-dependent reductions in motor impairments. In neonatal rats, transplanted cells migrated out from the transplant sites toward another nearby brain region. There was no evidence of tumor formation, a possible adverse effect of stem cell transplantation. This research was supported by Athersys, Inc.
The second study addressed a significant problem in the use of stem cells for spinal cord repair, that of directing cells to align in the proper direction along the cord. Misdirected or undirected cell orientation limits the ability of injured nerves to reconnect with other nerve cells further down the spinal cord. “A regrowth-directing structured scaffold is required for spinal cord repair,” said lead study author Norbert Weidner, MD, of the University of Regensburg, Germany.
The research group tested anisotropic capillary hydrogels (ACH) made of a seaweed derivative, which have an internal structure that preferentially guides axons (nerve cell extensions) in one direction. In brain slice cultures, they showed that ACH promoted regrowth of existing axons and improved their ability to reconnect with their target nerve cells. They then tested this strategy in adult rats with damaged spinal cords, where ACH promoted directional regrowth across the scaffold. Ongoing studies demonstrate that ACH can be "seeded" with neural stem cells, which now align properly and may further enhance the regenerative capacity of ACH.
“ACH represents a promising strategy to induce nerve regrowth following spinal cord injury,” said Weidner. “Several, additional strategies could be used to improve the success of this therapy, including adding various growth factors and drugs to the gel to enhance nerve cell growth.”
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 19,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, and stroke.
For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com.
Dr. Borlongan and Dr. Weidner will present this research during the new “Future of Neuroscience Conference: Stem Cells and Neurological Disease”, poster sessions from 10:35 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. and from 2:40 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., on Friday, April 7 in room 31A-C of the San Diego Convention Center.
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