July 21, 2008
Researchers at MIT and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have identified specific adult stem cells in the spinal cord that might be activated to repair a spinal cord injury. Konstantinos Meletis and co-workers have been able to mark the specific stem cells for the spinal cord. "We have been able to genetically mark this neural stem cell population and then follow their behavior," Meletis said. "We find that these cells proliferate upon spinal cord injury, migrate toward the injury site and differentiate over several months." The study, published in the July issue of the journal PLoS Biology, could lead to ways to activate the cells in an injured spinal cord for repair of damage and regrowth of nerve axons.