For the first time, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have shown that human embryonic stem cell transplants have enabled mice with paralyzed hind limbs to get up and walk, offering hope that stem cell therapy could be a panacea for victims of lower motor diseases such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease) and spinal motor atrophy. John Gearhart, professor and director of the division of pediatric urology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, explained the research at the annual course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics sponsored by the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine. The studies involved paralyzing the mice by infecting them with a virus similar to poliomyelitis. Then, human stem cells are injected into the base of the spinal cord, with the majority of the cells migrating to the ventral horn. Within three months, half the animals so treated regained their ability to...

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