Friday, December 22, 2006

The World's First Neural Stem Cell Transplant

Just over a month ago, on November 14, orderlies at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Ore., wheeled a six-year-old child with an incurable disorder of the nervous system into an operating theater. During the next eight hours surgeons used computers to guide a surgical procedure the likes of which the world has never seen: injections of neural stem cells directly into the brain of a human subject.

"This takes center stage as the first clinical trial that uses stem cells to attempt to possibly treat a disease," says Arnold Kriegstein, director of the Center for Regeneration Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. If successful, the study could pave the way for stem cell therapies to be used on conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and stroke. But, he cautions, "the first criterion is to see whether these stem cells will be safe."
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