A new study published yesterday in Nature Medicine, presents research showing that grafting human neural stem cells into the spine of rhesus monkeys with recent spinal cord injuries improves the animal’s ability to grasp oranges. The researchers found that grafted stem cells matured into neurons (image below) that began connecting with the monkey’s existing neurons.
This was the first time this type of research was performed in primates and may thus open the door for this type of treatment for neurodegenerative diseases in humans. Although more research is needed to determine the most appropriate type of stem cells and the type of injuries this treatment may work best for before testing in humans.
Rosenzweig ES, Brock JH, Lu P, Kumamaru H, Salegio EA, Kadoya K, Weber JL, Liang JJ, Moseanko R, Hawbecker S, Huie JR, Havton LA, Nout-Lomas YS, Ferguson AR, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Tuszynski MH. Restorative effects of human neural stem cell grafts on the primate spinal cord. Nature Medicine. Published online 26 February 2018. doi:10.1038/nm.4502.
Categories: Comparative Physiology