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Brain Stem Cell Transplant Potential Parkinson’s Treatment

Researchers say they have completed a new stem cell transplant that rebuilds the circuits in the brain of mice. This could lead eventually to new treatments for conditions from Parkinson’s disease to autism.

In the experiment, a team at Harvard University embedded healthy stem cells from mouse embryos into the brains of adult laboratory rodents who were unable to use leptin. After the transplant the rodents were able to process leptin again.

Jeffery Macklis at Harvard University said “We’ve used complex circuitry as a test case for whether precisely selected and controlled neuron transplants could rewire the brain. What we found is these neurons not only turned into the right types of cells, but they sent signals to the recipient’s brain and received signals from the recipient’s brain. The next step for us is to ask parallel questions of other parts of the brain and spinal cord, those involved in ALS (motor neuron disease) and with spinal cord injuries.”

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