Study: Stem Cells May Repair Cord Damage

StemCells Inc. shares moved sharply higher before Tuesday's bell, propelled by a report that its stem-cell technology had been shown to restore some mobility in mice with severe spinal-cord injuries. Shares of StemCells (STEM: news, chart, profile) shot up 21% to $5.97. Late Monday, StemCells said that a study conducted by researchers at the University of California at Irvine showed that transplanted human neural stem cells helped restore function in the limbs of mice whose spinal cords had been crushed. Although the mice were not completely paralyzed, they had very limited mobility before the treatment. The transplanted cells transformed themselves into specialized neural cells that conduct the electrical impulses used by the nervous system for motor function, the researchers said. The study also indicated that stem-cell therapy might have a future in treating multiple sclerosis. According to researchers, some of the cells transformed into cells make up neural tissue called myelin. Multiple sclerosis is caused when the body's immune system attacks and destroys myelin cells. Results of the study will appear today in the on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the company said.

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