Mouth stem cells 'could treat dementias'

Posted on 23 August 2011

A breakthrough in the field of stem cells could provide new therapies for neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia - an illness commonly suffered by those paying for care.

The study at Tel Aviv University has gathered cells from the oral mucosa - the membrane that lines the inside of the mouth - and manipulated them into stem cells.

It was found that these cells were as easy to work with as those from embryos - a controversial area of research.

As well as helping those with neurodegenerative conditions, the breakthrough could have implications for heart diseases, autoimmune illnesses and diabetes.

While stem cells taken from the tissue of elderly patients have reduced function, oral mucosa cells stay young, and there is no risk of rejection as they are taken directly from the patient.

In other news, Paul S Knoepfler from the University of California Davis maintains that Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease could be treated with pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) taken from the skin.

Posted by Natalie Edwards



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