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UW-Madison rat experiment could lead to stem-cell treatment for ALS

Madison, Wis. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have sucessfully injected stem cells into rats' spines in a way that could lead to treatments for degenerative diseases but they did not use the controversial embryonic stem cells.

The researchers inserted human stem cells derived from fetal brain tissue into the spinal cords of rats afflicted with ALS, a disease tha......

Full article >>> ke embryonic stem cells, they can grow without animal derivatives that are considered a potential source of contamination, Svendsen said.

"This is the first study that shows that certain types of stem cells can survive and release powerful protective proteins in the spinal cord of rats with a genetic form of ALS," Svendsen said in a release.

Once inside the brain or spinal cord, ......

Full article >>> gnosed with ALS. The disease attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord; as motor neurons progressively die, the brain cannot initiate and control muscle movement.

The UW-Madison researchers tackled several technical barriers trying to ensure that the progenitor cells correctly gathered near the motor neurons in the spinal cord while continuing to pump GDNF once they got there, said......

Full article >>> vendsen is consulting with the Food and Drug Administration on what needs to be done to go ahead with human trials. The team should be able to put cells into human patients within two to three years, she said.

Ordinarily, the researchers would first test the work in primates. However, "it's such a horrible disease that it's unethical for primates to be given this disease," Klein told WTN.......

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'"/> By Lincoln Brunner 04/20/05

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