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Fudan's brain disease revelation

PEOPLE with brain injuries, such as boxing great Muhammad Ali who has Parkinson's disease, could be cured in the future by the transplant of reprogrammed neural stem cells, new research indicates.

Yesterday researchers at Fudan University announced their findings, which will be published in leading academic publication Journal of Neuroscience today.

Scientists have known of neural stem cells in human brains but have been puzzled why they couldn't heal an injured brain.

Stem cells are the building block of the body and can be used to grow new organs or repair damaged tissue.

The prevailing thought has been that there were not enough neural stem cells in brain to heal injured brain cells and scientists had been focusing research on how to increase their numbers.

But researchers at Fudan University say the real reason is that neural stem cells just need to be reprogrammed.

"The new finding has altered the research direction of cell-based therapies," said Yang Zhengang, an associate professor at Fudan University's Institute of Brain Science and a leading researcher on the project.

Researchers will work on how to reprogram the cells to become the kind useful for cell-based therapies to cure diseases such as Parkinson's.


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