Stem Cells Help Regain Memory

For brain cancer patients suffering from cognitive dysfunction due to radiation treatment, stem cells may offer relief.

Jul 14, 2011
Cristina Luiggi

WELLCOME IMAGES, BENEDICT CAMPBELL

While radiation therapy is often used to keep brain cancer at bay, it can cause serious long-term damage in the form of learning deficits and memory loss. However, a team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that human neural stem cells injected into radiation-treated rats can help reverse this damage. After transplantation, the stem cells migrated throughout the hippocampus and developed into new neurons, as well as supporting brain cells, including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. "While much work remains, a clinical trial analyzing the safety of such approaches may be possible within a few years,” said radiation oncologist and author of the paper, Charles Limoli, in a press release. The results will appear in the July 15 issue of Cancer Research.