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Neural stem cells are expected to aid cognitive repair in patients with brain tumors

Neural stem cells may help brain tumor patients repair impaired cognitive function in animal studies, researchers from US report.

Researchers at the university of California, irvine, created mice with brain tumors and treated them with radiation and it finally damaged their cognitive abilities. Two days after the radiotherapy, the researchers implanted human neural stem cells into their brains, and at subsequent assessments at 1 month and 4 months, the rats showed improved cognitive performance, while the control rats, who had not received the transplant, showed no change in impaired cognitive performance.

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

The study was published in the American Journal Cancer research. Charles limley, a professor of radiation oncology who led the study, said the findings provided evidence that neural stem cells could be used to reverse damage to healthy tissue in the brain caused by radiation, and that stem cell therapy could one day be a clinical therapy to help patients with brain tumors treated with radiation to repair cognitive function. 
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