Injections of cultured adult brain stem cells help mice with a form of multiple sclerosis (MS) recover from paralysis, according to a paper in this week's Nature (pp. 688-694). Researchers hope that, in future, similar therapies will be used to treat human MS and other autoimmune diseases.
Gianvito Martino and Angelo Vescovi of the San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy, and colleagues find that cultured adult brain stem cells injected into blood or spinal cord of mice suffering from an MS-like disease travel to areas of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. There, they form new neurons and myelin-producing cells, decreasing the levels of inflammatory molecules and the amount of cellular scarring in the brain. Up to 30% of mice recover fully from their hind-leg paralysis, and the rest show a big improvement.
MS affects over one million people worldwide; there is currently no cure. "The potential of strategies such as this to treat neurological damage on a wide front is impressive," says Lawrence Steinman of Stanford University, California, in an accompanying News and View article.
Gianvito Martino tel +39 02 2643 4853
Angelo Vescovi tel +39 02 2156 0202
Lawrence Steinman tel +1 650 725 6678
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza