Another Feather in the Stem Cells Cap: Human Stem Cells Help Mobilize Paralyzed Rats
The results of a new study conducted on paralyzed rats by the research team at the University of Rochester Medical Centre have revealed interesting findings. Astrocytes (cells found in brain and spinal cord) derived from human embryonic stem cells were transplanted into rats with spinal cord injuries. These cells managed to resume the motor function. This research worked better unlike earlier experiments, where a combination of human and rat cells were used.
In the experiment, two types of astrocytes were transplanted into the injured spinal cords of the paralyzed rats. The recovery was fastened only by one set of astrocyte cells.
This implies that not all astrocytes are capable of repairing damaged tissues. Another significant observation of this study is the incapability of original stem cells to recover mobility. Therefore, scientists will first have to create and then modify stem cells in the laboratory before transplantation.
Moreover, the effectiveness of astrocytes will have to be tested in animal models with severe spinal cord injuries resembling those of humans before starting human clinical trials.