Stem cells can be used to restore the cognitive disabilities in brain cancer patients, shows new research. Brain cancer patients lose their learning and memory abilities due to radiation treatment.
For the UCI study, multipotent human neural stem cells were transplanted into the brains of rats that had undergone radiation treatment. They migrated throughout the hippocampus - a region known for the growth of new neurons - and developed into brain cells.
Researchers assessed the rats one month and four months after transplantation, noting enhanced learning and memory abilities at both intervals.
Additionally, they found that transplanting as few as 100,000 human neural stem cells was sufficient to improve cognition after cranial irradiation.
"Our findings provide solid evidence that such cells can be used to reverse radiation-induced damage of healthy tissue in the brain," said Charles Limoli, a UCI radiation oncology professor.
The study will be published in Cancer Research.