• The researchers directed human stem cells to become a type of brain cell that is destroyed by radiation, a common cancer treatment, then grafted the cells into the brains of irradiated rats. Within a few months, the rats’ performance on learning and memory tests improved.
  • The treatment could repair a lot of the damage caused by radiation. “Radiation therapy … is very effective, but the problem is patients end up with severe disability,” he says. “Fuzzy thinking, a loss in higher intellectual functions, decreases in memory — all those are part and parcel of radiation therapy to the brain.”
  • To bolster the brain’s supply of oligodendrocytes, Tabar and her team grew forerunners to the myelin-making cells from human stem cells. The researchers injected these precursor cells into different areas in the brains of 18 rats that had been given a regimen of multiple radiation doses similar to what cancer patients receive.

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