Human stem cells taken from an embryo or fetus delay the development of fatal brain and nerve diseases in mice, researchers reported.
The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine and is the first study in which human embryonic stem cells have been successfully used for the treatment of diseases in animals.
Dr. Evan Snyder of Medicine University of California, head of the study, reported that his team hopes these tests soon be moved on children suffering from fatal and incurable brain diseases such as Alzheimer's Sandhoff.
The approach used in this study could lead to new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and others.
In the study, researchers used mice having disabilities equivalent disability in Sandhoff disease.
Children with this disease have severe mental retardation and motor dysfunction. Death usually occurs in them in childhood. This disease is caused as a result of a mutation in the gene responsible for synthesis of the enzyme hexosaminidase or hexyl, of which the brain needs to purify from the excess of lipids. In accumulation of lipids, brain cells die. The disease is characterized by inflammation that kills brain cells.
Snyder's team used human embryonic stem cells and fetal human stem cells. These cells were transplanted into the brains of mice.
Side effects of treatment were observed, and the mice did not reject the foreign cells and the inflammation is reduced.
Thus treated mice lived 70% longer compared to untreated.
Stem cells are valuable because they can develop into all types of cells and tissues.
Transplanted human cells replace damaged nerve cells and carry nerve signals in the brain. They have also led to an increased synthesis of the enzyme hex, which is insufficient in Sandhoff disease.