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Cord blood cells improve rats' neurological recovery from brain injury, new study finds

Tampa, FL (June 5, 2002) Intravenous injections of cells from human umbilical cord blood improved the neurological and motor function of rats recovering from severe traumatic brain injury, researchers at Henry Ford Health Sciences Center, Detroit, MI, and the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, found.

The study appears in tomorrow's (June 6) issue of the journal Cell Transplantation, a special issue that focuses on emerging approaches in neural transplantation and brain repair. It is one of several articles exploring the therapeutic potential of human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) cells as an alternative to embryonic stem cells.

While studies of cellular therapies continue to grow in importance, the emphasis has been on neurological diseases like Parkinson's disease and stroke, and, more recently, on spinal cord injury.

"This study is the first to suggest that human umbilical cord blood may be a novel way to treat traumautic brain injury, a significant cause of death and disability for adolescents and young adults," said report co-author Paul R. Sanberg, PhD, DSc, director of the USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair.

"The results certainly raise some interesting questions about the mechanisms of recovery," said Juan Sanchez-Ramos, PhD, MD, Helen Ellis professor of neurology and director of stem cell research at the USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair. "It appears that the trophic factors and cytokines from cord blood help promote the brain's self-generated repair of damaged tissue."

"These findings were consistent with the therapeutic benefit we obtained using cord blood to treat stroke in rats," said Michael Chopp, PhD, a neuroscientist at HFHSC and lead author of the report. This earlier study was published last November in the journal Stroke.

"Cord blood is readily available, noncontroversial and produces therapeutic benefit by stimulating endogenous restorative responses in the injured brain," Dr. Ch
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@hsc.usf.edu
813-974-3300
University of South Florida Health
5-Jun-2002


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