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Adult stem cells aid recovery in animal model of cerebral palsy

Adult stem cell therapy quickly and significantly improves recovery of motor function in an animal model for the ischemic brain injury that occurs in about 10 percent of babies with cerebral palsy, researchers report.

Within two weeks, treated animals were about 20 percent less likely to favor the unaffected side of their bodies and experienced about a 25 percent improvement in balance, compared to untreated controls, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

Their findings are being presented during the 34th annual meeting of the Child Neurology Society Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Los Angeles.

"We found that when these cells, provided by Athersys, Inc., were injected directly into the brain, it significantly improves the outcome in the animals," says Dr. James E. Carroll, chief of the MCG Section of Pediatric Neurology and the study's principal investigator.

Athersys, Inc., a Cleveland-based biopharmaceutical company pursuing cell therapy programs in cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases, funded the research in which about 200,000 cells were injected directly into the brain injury site.

The adult stem cells, called multipotent progenitor cells because of their ability to make different types of tissue, were taken from the bone marrow of rats and expanded by Athersys for dosing in the injury model, Dr. Carroll says.

Seven days after injury, stem cells were injected directly into the brains of 22 animal models through a tiny hole in the skull. As with human transplant recipients, the animals were placed on immunosuppressive therapy to avoid rejection, although Athersys' experience in multiple animal models for human disease has shown donor-recipient matches and immunosuppression are not required.

Behavioral tests seven days after transplant showed a trend toward recovery and significant recovery by day 14. About 1 percent to 2 percent of the transplanted cells actually survived, apparently re
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
30-Sep-2005


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