Human Exceptionalism

Mouse Study: Alzheimer’s Could be Helped with Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells

This is a proof of principle experiment, with a long way to go for human application (if evern), but this is a very encouraging experiment. UCB stem cells may open a door to treating Alzheimer’s disease. From the story:

A novel strategy based on targeted immune suppression using human umbilical cord blood cells may improve the pathology and cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease, based on the results of a study in a mouse model of this currently untreatable neurodegenerative condition, as described in a groundbreaking report in Stem Cells and Development.

Following a series of low-dose infusions of human umbilical cord blood cells into mice with Alzheimer’s-like disease, the amount of amyloid-ß and ß-amyloid plaques–hallmarks of Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain–was markedly reduced. Amyloid-ß induces an inflammatory response in the brain associated with the interaction of CD40and CD40L, two pro-inflammatory molecules.

Human umbilical cord blood cell therapy was associated with suppression of CD40-CD40L activity, suggesting that this therapeutic approach modulates the activity of the immune system, offering the potential to target the pathogenic inflammatory response that may contribute to a variety of degenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.

There are 4 million or so live births in the USA each year, each coming with stem cells of astounding medical potential. Bueno.