Cord Blood-Derived Stem Cells – a New Therapeutic Option for Brain Disorders?

In one area of stem cell research progress has been steady. Cord blood stem cells can be harvested from the umbilical cord and placenta of a newborn baby and stored for future use should that baby (or a genetically similar relative) become sick. These stem cells have been used to treat close to 100 blood-based conditions, including several types of leukemia.

One particular challenge has been to force cord blood stem cells to become anything other than a blood cell. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in collaboration with scientists in Barcelona, Spain, have succeeded in coaxing stem cells to become neurons, a groundbreaking step in the treatment of traumatic brain injury and other neuronal disorders.

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