Research has implications for paediatric brain damage

17 April 2012
The building blocks for cortical neurons generated in a culture dish from human embryonic stem cells (image courtesy of Lachlan Thompson) Recently published research from SCA scientists provides hope for eventual development of stem cell therapies for paediatric neurological conditions such as spinal muscular atrophy and cerebral palsy.

Commenting on the study Professor Martin Pera, Head of Stem Cells Australia noted, "This study, a collaboration between some outstanding early career Australian stem cell researchers, illustrates the remarkable ability of neural precursor cells made from human embryonic stem cells to integrate and function in the brains of newborn animals."

The research was a collaboration between the laboratories of Drs Lachlan Thompson and Clare Parish at the Florey Neuroscience Institutes and Dr Mirella Dottori from the University of Melbourne and featured the work of several young scientists including Dr Mark Denham.

Professor Pera went on to say "T
he study shows that the environment in the brain in early life provides important signals for these precursor cells that guide their migration to appropriate brain regions, their maturation, and their functional connection with other cells.  The results provide optimism for stem cell therapies directed at brain disorders of early life, such as cerebral hypoxia."

For more information:
Denham M, Parish CL, Leaw B, Wright J, Reid CA, Petrou S, Dottori M and Thompson LH (2012) Neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells extend long-distance axonal projections through growth along host white matter tracts after intra-cerebral transplantation. Front. Cell. Neurosci. 6:11. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2012.00011