Temporal lobe epilepsy or TLE is a medical condition where the patient has repeated unprovoked seizures. Now, new research has come up with to reduce recurrent seizures associated with TLE. The treatment may also provide permanent patient-specific treatment of TLE. The new treatment involves the use of stem cells.
You may have heard of stem cells in the news. You may wonder what they are, what is there benefit, and why there is a debate around stem-cells.
Stem cells are raw materials of the body. They are cells from which all other cells that have specialized functions such as the brain cells, bone cells, or blood cells are generated. Stem cells can also create other stem cells.
Stem cells are the only cells in the body that have the ability to generate new cell types. Hence, they hold great promise in medicine. Stem cells can be used to replace diseased cells and regenerate damaged tissue in the body.
There are several sources of stem cells. The most versatile stem cells called Embryonic stem cells are derived from early-stage embryos via in-vitro fertilization. Since the stem cells are extracted from human embryos, there is controversy around their use.
The new research has demonstrated that implanting human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived MGE-like interneuron precursors can significantly reduce recurrent seizures.
The use of stem cells not only decreased seizures but also improved memory function and depression. Existing anti-epileptic medicines primarily restrain seizures, but do not cure cognitive dysfunction and depression.
Testing of the research has currently been conducted on animals. Researchers say that more work is still needed to determine the safety of the method.
This research was conducted by Dinesh Upadhya, Bharathi Hattiangady, Olagide W. Castro, Bing Shuai, Maheedhar Kodali, Sahithi Attaluri, Adrian Bates, Yi Dong, Su-Chun Zhang, Darwin J. Prockop, and Ashok K. Shetty. The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.