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Stem Cell Breakthrough in Spinal Cord Injury Repair

Researchers from Rochester, N.Y., and Colorado have revealed that manipulating stem cells prior to transplantation may lead to improved spinal cord repair methods. When nerve fibers are injured in the spinal cord, the severed ends of the nerve fibers fail to regenerate and reconnect with the nervous system circuitry beyond the site of the injury. During early development, the astrocytes cells of the brain and spine are highly supportive of nerve fiber growth, and scientists believe that if properly directed, these cells could play a key role in regenerating damaged nerves in the spinal cord. Rather than transplanting naive stem cells, the team has adopted an approach of pre-differentiating stem cells into better-defined populations of these brain cells. These stem cells are then selected for their ability to promote recovery.

Researchers from Rochester, N.Y., and Colorado have revealed that manipulating stem cells prior to transplantation may lead to improved spinal cord repair methods. When nerve fibers are injured in the spinal cord, the severed ends of the nerve fibers fail to regenerate and reconnect with the nervous system circuitry beyond the site of the injury. During early development, the astrocytes cells of the brain and spine are highly supportive of nerve fiber growth, and scientists believe that if properly directed, these cells could play a key role in regenerating damaged nerves in the spinal cord. Rather than transplanting naive stem cells, the team has adopted an approach of pre-differentiating stem cells into better-defined populations of these brain cells. These stem cells are then selected for their ability to promote recovery.

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