Scientists for the first time have restored a crucial substance known as myelin in a widespread area of an animals brain, opening the door toward new ways to improve treatment of an assortment of "demyelinating" diseases as well as the side effects of such common conditions as high blood pressure and heart disease. The research by a team led by Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, is in the January issue of Nature Medicine.
Using human brain cells, Goldmans team was able to restore proper nerve function in nearly the entire brains of mice much more efficiently than has been done previously. While the work is years away from a clinical study in humans, it serves as a milestone for researchers seeking to use stem cells and related cells known as progenitors to treat human disease.
"The results are much better than we expected," says Goldman, who is professor of Neurology and chief of the departments Division of Cell and Gene Therapy at Rochester. "The percentage of cells in this experiment that began producing myelin is extraordinary, probably thousands of times as many as in previous experiments."
Tom Rickey | EurekAlert!
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