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Medical News and Perspectives
March 2, 2005

Researchers Coax Human Stem Cells to Become Motor Neurons

JAMA. 2005;293(9):1047. doi:10.1001/jama.293.9.1047

Timing is everything in the development of human stem cells, researchers from the University of Wisconsin in Madison have discovered. By exposing human embryonic stem cells to various biologic factors in a precisely timed manner, they succeeded in coaxing the stem cells to develop into motor neurons, which transmit messages from the central nervous system to the muscles. The research provides valuable insights into the unique challenges of working with human stem cells, and it may speed the development of treatments for such motor neuron disorders as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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