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Stem cell research heads to the clinic

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today.  A new stem cell therapy, that could lead to potential treatments for multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, is being investigated by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. David Rowitch, professor of pediatrics and neurosurgery, is lead investigator of the study, which is the first of its kind.

Rowitch:        This is a safety study and so we're looking for potential complications with this type of therapy, signs that the cells might not be well-tolerated in the brain. This is an invasive procedure in which cells are injected into the brain. There's the possibility that these cells could cause an inflammatory reaction in the regions that have received the cells and that could actually lead to neurological deterioration. There's also the possibility of tumor development. And all of these are the negative symptoms of the stem cell transplant that we're monitoring for.

Narrator:       Four patients underwent the transplant procedure last January. Results about the safety and possible benefits of the treatment are expected in early 2012. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.