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Stem cells found in adult skin can be transplanted and function in mouse models of disease

ems of mice that don't have myelin in their brains. While the research occurred in mouse models, some of their data indicate that human SKPs can do the same thing.

"Previous work has only dealt with SKPs in culture and their more basic biology. Now we have shown that SKPs can make at least one cell type that functions as predicted in animals," said Dr. Rajiv Midha, study author, a scientist at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute as well as chairman of the Division of Neurosurgery and professor and deputy head in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Calgary. "This is the first time SKPs have been demonstrated to make bona fide neural cell types that can be transplanted into and function in animal models of disease."

Other members of the research team included Drs. Ian McKenzie, Jeff Biernaskie and Jean Toma, all from SickKids.

The next steps for the research team are to perform similar functional studies for the other cell types that they have shown are made by SKPs, including nerve cells, and to ask whether these SKP-derived Schwann cells can function in situations of human nervous system disease, such as spinal cord injury. On the basis of their findings, Dr. Miller and Dr. Wolfram Tetzlaff at the University of British Columbia have obtained a $1.5 million team grant from NeuroScience Canada's Brain Repair Program to determine whether human SKPs can be used to repair the injured spinal cord in rodents. The mission of NeuroScience Canada's Brain Repair Program is to fast-track neuroscience research in order to develop treatments and therapies more quickly.


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Contact: Chelsea Gay
chelsea.gay@sickkids.ca
416-813-5045
University of Toronto
14-Jun-2006


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