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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Stem cells from epilepsy patients used in spinal injuries research

21 October, 2003

Researchers are studying
the brain tissue of epilepsy patients in a bid to one day restore movement
to people with spinal cord injuries,
according to a report in The Melbourne
Age
.

A new research fellowship
will help a University of Queensland neuroscientist, Dr Natalie Bull,
investigate how to use the brain's own stem cells
to aid people with spinal injuries.

Dr Bull said she
hoped to learn how the stem cells grew and what signaled them to divide
and become new neurons:

"We hope to... be able
to look at ways of replacing nerve cells that might be lost, in particular
those that are damaged when somebody
suffers a spinal cord injury. The research is looking at trying to stimulate
replacement of lost cells in the brain.

"There's some research
going on in mouse models at the moment where neurons are being replaced
by stem cells in the brain and these cells
have actually managed to grow new connections down into the spinal cord."

Dr Bull is collaborating with a neurosurgeon at St
Vincent's Hospital
in Melbourne, who operates on epilepsy patients and asks them to donate
removed brain tissue.