New promise for adult stem cell research


 Two articles in the current issue of The Lancet highlight possible therapeutic uses of adult stem cells. In a German study, adult stem cells derived from bone marrow improved cardiac functioning after heart attacks.

Helmut Drexler, of the University of Freiburg, found that the transfer of patients' own bone-marrow cells could improve functioning of the left ventricle of the heart six months after treatment. Patients who had been given stem-cell transfers had around a 7% improvement in left ventricular function compared with only a 0?7% increase for patients given drugs.

In a second study, skin cells were turned into brain cells, raising hopes of finding a stem cell cure for Parkinson's disease which is ethically non-controversial. Siddharthan Chandran, of Cambridge University generated nerve precursor cells in a two-step process. Growth factors generated almost limitless numbers of stem cells which were then made into nerve cells.




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