A neural stem cell transplant from fetal cells performed in Russia led to a brain tumor in a teenage boy, researchers in this week's PLoS Medicine report, raising concerns about the safety of neural stem cells treatments.
MRI of brain lesion, courtesy of PLoS Medicine
The researchers confirmed that the cancer originated from the donor tissue, not the boy's own cells. This is the first report of cancer following fetal neural stem cell transplant. However, outside experts raised concerns about the safety of the transplant procedure used in this case, suggesting that other stem cell transplants conducted with more oversight may not carry an increased risk. The boy suffered from a recessive genetic disorder called ataxia telangiectasia (AT), an incurable, neurodegenerative disease that has left him wheelchair-bound. In 2002, when he was 9, his parents took him from Israel to Moscow to undergo experimental stem cell therapy. A team...

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