Stem-cell breakthrough could mean treatment for Huntington’s

A research report published earlier this week suggests a possible connection between the use of stem cells and a treatment for Huntingtons disease.

Su-Chun Zhang, a UW-Madison professor, is the senior author of the new study, which shows embryonic stem cells may be used to reinstate the neural circuit needed for motor control that is destroyed in Huntingtons patients.

There is no cure for Huntingtons, a terminal disease in which patients lose control of muscle coordination.

The key to the study is the use of GABA neurons, which are responsible for creating the network the brain uses to coordinate motor function, but are reduced in Huntingtons patients. According to the report, researchers found a way to manufacture large quantities of GABA neurons from embryonic stem cells, which they implanted in mice to test how well they would integrate in to the mouses brain.

The cells not only integrated in the mouses brain, but also projected to the corresponding target and reestablished the neural circuit, which restored muscle coordination.

This result suggests a possible treatment for a previously incurable disease, as well as discovering that the human brain may be more resilient than originally thought.

While the findings are optimistic, researchers said in a statement that the technology will not be ready for human trials until further research is completed.

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Stem-cell breakthrough could mean treatment for Huntington’s

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