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A further step to Parkinson\'s treatment with stem cells

The research team of neuroscientists from the Medical Center at the University of Rochester has discovered a new way of neural stem cells isolation from the human brain. They announced their findings in the Journal of Neuroscience. The finding will enable development of new treatment methods for neurological disorders and conditions, including Parkinson's disease.

The discovery is a result of six-year work of the team. A new method of neural stem cells isolation allows for taking out only unspecialized stem cells able to turn into variety of cells, without admixture of progenitor cells which are more specialized and determined to turn into specific cells. So far, this was impossible–both unspecialized stem cells and progenitor cells were captured. Moreover, to isolate neural stem cells up to now, the researchers needed first to cultivate brain tissue in the laboratory for the time measured in months.

Ability to separate only neural stem cells is very promising in treating different neurological disorders, since these cells can turn into into a wide range of neural cells, compared to precursor cells that are determined to give rise to specific cells only. Moreover, new method of their extraction saves time in the laboratory, enabling their faster use for brain stem cell research or treating methods development.

The studies have also demonstrated that developing treatments with the use animal models cannot guarantee the best solutions for humans. This conclusion was made upon finding that different classes of genes were actively expressed in human stem cells compared to mouse cells.

Over the last years, a few studies applying neural stem cells for treating neurological disorders, such as pediatric leukodystrophies in children, were conducted. The new method that enables isolation of neural stem cells only is likely to enhance the developments in the field.