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Bone Marrow Cell Transplants Help Nerve Regeneration

December 5, 2007

ScienceDaily (Dec. 5, 2007) — A study carried out by researchers at the Kyoto University School of Medicine has shown that when transplanted bone marrow cells (BMCs) containing adult stem cells are protected by a 15mm silicon tube and nourished with bio-engineered materials, they successfully help regenerate damaged nerves. The research may provide an important step in developing artificial nerves.
“We focused on the vascular and neurochemical environment within the tube,” said Tomoyuki Yamakawa, MD, the study’s lead author. “We thought that BMCs containing adult stem cells, with the potential to differentiate into bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, or neuronal cells, could survive by obtaining oxygen and nutrients, with the result that rates of cell differentiation and regeneration would improve.”
Nourished with bioengineered additives, such as growth factors and cell adhesion molecules, the BMCs after 24 weeks differentiated into cells with characteristics of Schwann cells — a variety of neural cell that provides the insulating myelin around the axons of peripheral nerve cells. The new cells successfully regenerated axons and extended their growth farther across nerve cell gaps toward damaged nerve stumps, with healthier vascularity.
“The differentiated cells, similar to Schwann cells, contributed significantly to the promotion of axon regeneration through the tube,” explained Yamakawa. “This success may be a further step in developing artificial nerves.”
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1996 article from New York Times archives explains P0 mutation in Dejerine-Sottas

December 2, 2007

The New York Times recently digitized its pre-Internet archives and opened them to the public, so today I ran a search and found a single mention of Dejerine-Sottas disease. It’s an interesting article on the use of x-ray crystallography to shed some light on the proteins created by the P0 mutation, one of the mutations that causes Dejerine-Sottas.

Protein Linked to 3 Nerve Ailments

IN two papers representing the work of 19 researchers, scientists reported last week that they had seen, at a molecular level, the damage to an important protein that is the cause of three genetic nerve disorders. Dr. Thomas Bird, a professor at the University of Washington and chief of neurology at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Seattle, who is not associated with the groups who made the reports, said that the papers are examples of where medicine has arrived: at the molecular detail of human disease.

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