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Stem cells can restore brain function

July 14, 2011

IN THE NEWS: The Orange County Register reported in a UC Irvine study that showed brain cancer patients who lose some of their smarts because of radiation treatments could regain them with injections of human neural stem cells.

“The real appeal is to put these cells into the brain in hopes of replacing those cells either killed or damaged” by radiation treatment, said UC Irvine radiation oncology professor Charles Limoli.

Rats whose brain function was impaired by radiation showed marked improvement after receiving such injections, doing a far better job of exploring mazes for hidden toys. The neural stem cells also turned not only into new neurons, but into other kinds of brain cells that are vital support structures in the brain.

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