Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Successful In Reversing Brain Birth Defects

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Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have succeeded in reversing brain birth defects in animal models, using stem cells to replace defective brain cells.

Neural and behavioral birth defects, such as learning disabilities, are particularly difficult to treat, compared to defects with known cause factors such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, because the prenatal teratogen – the substances that cause the abnormalities — act diffusely in the fetal brain, resulting in multiple defects.

Prof. Joseph Yanai and his associates at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School were able to overcome this obstacle in laboratory tests with mice by using mouse embryonic neural stem cells. These cells migrate in the brain, search for the deficiency that caused the defect, and then differentiate into becoming the cells needed to repair the damage.

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