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Cloned tissue cure Parkinson's Mice

Sun, 30th Mar 2008

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Scientists have used cloning technology to cure mice with the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, using their own cells.

A house mouseWriting in Nature Medicine, Sloan-Kettering Institute researcher Viviane Tabar and her colleagues collected skin cells from the tails of mice with an experimental form of Parkinson's. They then "cloned" the mice by injecting the DNA from the tail cells into mouse eggs that had previously been emptied of their own DNA.

When the mouse embryonic clones began to develop the resulting embryonic stem cells were then harvested and cultured in a dish with a cocktail of growth factors to trigger them to turn into nerve cells that produce the transmitter chemical dopamine, which is missing from the brains of Parkinson's patients. 100,000 of these cells ere then injected back into the brains of the affected mice. One group of animals got their own genetically compatible cells, whilst a second group of animals were injected with cells derived using DNA from an unrelated mouse. The aim was to test whether using genetically compatible tissue would affect the success rate of the treatment.

Mice that received brain cells made using their own DNA showed significant improvements in their disease symptoms, and analysing their brains subsequently revealed that, on average, 20,000 of the injected nerve cells had survived and wired themselves into the brain.

The animals that received incompatible grafts, however, showed little improvement, and only about 200 surviving cells were visible in their brains later. This result shows for the first time that it's possible to tailor-make genetically-compatible tissue to repair the diseased brain, and that self-derived cells generated like this are likely to be far better received by the body than tissue from elsewhere.


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