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Brain Stem Cells Show Their Potential

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Science  22 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5401, pp. 471
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5401.471

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On page 534, a neurobiologist and his colleagues report that neural stem cells, which give rise to the three main types of brain cells, can also become blood cells when transplanted into mice. The result provides a strong push to find other stem cell types with similar abilities to change their apparent developmental fates. And it opens the possibility of using neural stem cell transplants to treat human blood cell disorders such as aplastic anemia and severe combined immunodeficiency--an appealing idea, as bone marrow stem cells don't replenish themselves well in lab cultures, while the neural stem cells do.