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Researchers Focus on Human Astrocyte Cells for Spinal Cord Injury Repair


 

(May 2, 2011) For the first time, scientists at the school of medicine have shown that a type of human cell, generated from stem cells and transplanted into spinal cord-injured rats, provides tremendous benefit, not only repairing damage to the nervous system but also helping the animals regain locomotor function. The study focuses on human astrocytes—the major support cells in the central nervous system. Transplantation of these cells may represent a new avenue for the treatment of spinal cord injuries and other central nervous system disorders.

Stephen Davies, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, says different types of human astrocytes, derived from the same population of human precursor cells, have completely different effects when it comes to repairing the injured spinal cord. Jeannette Davies, PhD, assistant professor at the CU School of Medicine, was co-lead author of the study which was conducted in collaboration with the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Listen to Davies' Colorado Public Radio interview or read the Denver Post story.