Neural stem cells may help patients with brain tumors repair their cognition

Animal studies have shown that neural stem cells may help patients with brain tumors repair impaired cognitive function, according to researchers from UA report.

Researchers at the university of California, irvine, created mice with brain tumors and treated them with radiation that impaired their cognitive abilities. Two days after radiation therapy, the researchers implanted human neural stem cells into their brains, and during follow-up evaluations at 1 and 4 months, the cognitive abilities of the mice improved, while the impaired cognitive abilities of the control group remained unchanged.

The researchers found that transplanting 100,000 neural stem cells was enough to improve cognitive performance in mice. Fifteen percent of the surviving neural stem cells transformed into new neurons, and another 45 percent transformed into astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Astrocytes are a type of glial cell in the brain that protects nerve cells and provides them with nutrients from the blood. Oligodendrocytes are glial cells that make a substance called myelin, the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells.

The study was published in the American journal cancer research. The findings provide evidence that neural stem cells can be used to reverse damage to healthy tissue in the brain caused by radiation therapy, stem cell therapy could one day be a clinical treatment to help patients with brain tumors who have received radiation to repair their cognitive abilities, said Dr. Charles limoli, a professor of radiation oncology who led the study.
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