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Engineered stem cells benefit rats

September 27, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Treatment with genetically modified stem cells helped rats with a paralyzing disease live significantly longer, U.S. researchers said this week.

Rats with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, that were treated with the gene-engineered stem cells lived 28 days longer than untreated mice, the researchers told a conference.

The injection contained adult nerve stem cells that were engineered to release a growth factor called glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, or GDNF.

"It's a fertilizer for neurons that die in ALS," said Clive Svendsen, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of neurology, who led a panel meeting on ALS at the World Stem Cell Summit in Madison.

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