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New Stem Cell Growth Strategy Could Yield Better Way to Treat Brain Lesions
Date:5/16/2013

Durham, NC (PRWEB) May 16, 2013

Researchers have found a new way to increase the survival of stem cells injected into the brain. The discovery might one day prove useful in developing new treatments for neurological disorders — especially brain lesions, which among other things can provoke seizures and indicate multiple sclerosis or certain forms of cancer.

The study was performed by Sushma Chaubey, Ph.D., and John H. Wolfe, V.M.D., Ph.D., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia’s Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. It appears in the current issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

Many medical experts have long believed that neural stem cells (NSCs) have great potential for treating neurological diseases. However, the problem is that just a small number of NSCs can be transplanted into the brain, yielding relatively low levels of new cell growth and, thus, a limited effect. “We wanted to investigate whether using a specific population of neural cells would help increase the number of mature brain cells that the stem cell graft yields,” Dr. Wolfe explained.

The team began by harvesting NSCs from the brains of baby mice and used a process known as fluorescence activated cell sorting to identify cells with markers for CD15, a type of carbohydrate found on a cell’s surface that plays an important role in cell migration, adhesion and in the growth factor signaling involved in cell maintenance and differentiation.

Cells sorting allowed the scientists to achieve a population of cells in which 98 percent were CD15-positive. This process resulted in six times more CD15-positive cells than when cell sorting is not used. These cells were then differentiated in the lab into neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which are types of cells found in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). The team next tested both sorted and non-sorte
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