Saturday, December 11, 2004

Stem Cells Re-Grow Dead Brain Tissue

Korean Scientists Use Bone Marrow Stem Cells to Re-Grow Dead Brain TissueSONGEUI, December 10, 2004 ( - Professors Rha Hyoung-kyun and Lee Jong-wook, of the medical college of the Catholic University of Korea, have discovered that adult stem cells can be implanted into damaged areas of the brain to re-build dead tissue. The researchers worked with five cerebral infarction patients who suffered severe symptoms of paralysis and speech disorder. Cerebral infarction is the formation of an area of dead tissue in the brain caused by insufficient blood flow and until the advent of stem cells, it was considered incurable. If blood flow in the brain becomes blocked it is possible for bypass surgery to correct the problem, but brain cells do not regenerate the same way as other tissues and damage can cause severe, lifelong infirmity. More observation is needed to confirm results, but the doctors were optimistic. "It may be too early to conclude the transplantation of stem cells is the only reason for an improvement in the patients' condition, because we haven't confirmed the rebirth of brain cells in a molecular biological way," Rha said. "But as it was proven in animal experiments that stem cells can partly restore brain cells, we consider stem cells helped the treatment in these clinical experiments as well," he added.The researchers did bypass surgery on the five patients, they then injected cells taken from bone marrow into ten damaged areas of the brain. Three of the five patients have had great improvement in their speech disorder and paralysis. MRI scans have shown a reduction in the amount of damaged tissue. "One of the patients could not communicate at all before the surgery, but he can now communicate with his wife," Rha said.

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