Stem cell hope for stroke victims

New York: scientists may have discovered a new way to use stem cells to make the brain repair itself after a stroke, which brings much hope for stroke victims.

The research, by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Maryland, was published on Sunday in Nature magazine.

Rats, whose brains had been starved of oxygen to simulate having a stroke, were studied by scientists. By stimulating a brain receptor known as “notch,” researchers were able to promote new stem cell growth in the brains of the rats, thus partially reversing the effect of the stroke simulation.

The discovery will raise hopes for new treatments for stroke, using the body’s own stem cells to aid healing.

Other treatments using embryonic stem cells have been restricted because implanted cells come under attack from the body’s immune system.

The researchers wrote: “New cell therapies based on embryonic stem (ES) cells are supported by work in animal models of human disease.

They are difficult to implement, however, because it is hard to grow tissue-specific precursors in the laboratory and it is difficult to deliver them to diffuse disease sites in the body without stimulating an immune response.”