The group, led by CIRM SEED grantee Charles Limoli, irradiated the heads of rats then transplanted human embryonic stem cells into the brain. In a memory test four months after the radiation, transplanted rats performed as well as rats that had never been irradiated. Rats that received radiation but no transplanted stem cells showed a significant decline in learning and memory.
The transplanted cells had migrated through the brain and matured into a variety of brain cells. The cells did not form any tumors (at least by 4 months) – something scientists are careful to watch for in transplanted stem cells.
In a press release by UCI, Limoli said:
"With further research, stem cells may one day be used to manage a variety of adverse conditions associated with radiotherapy."Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: November 10, 2009
CIRM funding: Charles Limoli (RS1-00413-1), Peter Donovan (RC1-00110-1)