Scientists from the University of Colorado School of Medicine have reported that fetal brain disorders may be able to be corrected using stem cells. The researchers say that when human neural stem cells were injected into the damaged brain of monkeys during gestation, some of the cells became 'an integral part of the developing brains of the animals'.
Dr Curt Freed, co-author of the report, published in the online version of the journal Science, said that the results of the experiments in the monkeys suggest that 'we could repair the developing human brain in utero and have a child born normally that would otherwise have a defect that could lead to failure of the brain in the first few years of life'.
When the stem cells were injected into the brain, it was found that they separated out into two areas. Some of them developed into mature brain cells and others stayed in a cluster or 'pool', without developing form their 'immature' state. The scientists speculate that this pool of stem cells may be stored for future 'lifelong self-repair' by the brain.