multiple sclerosis

This week marks Brain Awareness Week, with events worldwide to bring people up to speed on brain research. I went to the cool search tool on the Dana Foundation web site and found that several CIRM grantees are hosting events this week. That makes sense, given that roughly a quarter of our funding goes to neuronal diseases. (You can see charts of CIRM stem cell research funding allocations here.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have found that neurons derived from  embryonic stem cells were able to repair some damage in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. In people with MS, the immune system attacks the insulation – called myelin – that covers and protects neurons of the brain and spinal cord. The transplanted cells caused a response in the animals that allowed the myelin coating to be repaired on damaged cells. In humans, repairing the myelin would likely also repair the function of those nerves, bringing back feeling and motor control in people with MS.