EW YORK, Nov. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Because Alzheimer's disease kills brain cells, some scientists believe that stem cells, which have the ability to regenerate brain and other similar cells, may one day be able to prevent or reverse the course of Alzheimer's disease. Even though the disease and the course of treatment is not well understood, there are several developers tackling this area of stem cell therapy and the promise it holds in treating, or perhaps even curing, Alzheimer's disease. Kalorama Information believes that given this potential there is an opportunity for a future market.

Scientists are reporting the first strong evidence that human embryonic stem cells may be helping patients.

The cells appear to have improved the vision in more than half of the 18 patients who had become legally blind because of two progressive, currently incurable eye diseases.

The researchers stress that the findings must be considered preliminary because the number of patients treated was relatively small and they have only been followed for an average of less than two years.

Injecting cardiac stem cells might help reverse heart damage caused by Duchenne muscular dystrophy and can result in a longer life expectancy for patients with the chronic muscle-wasting disease, says a research at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

The study results were presented today at a Breaking Basic Science presentation during the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago. After laboratory mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy were infused with cardiac stem cells, the mice showed steady, marked improvement in heart function and increased exercise capacity. 

Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which affects 1 in 3,600 boys, is a neuromuscular disease caused by a shortage of a protein called dystrophin, leading to progressive muscle weakness. Most Duchenne patients lose their ability to walk by age 12. Average life expectancy is about 25. The cause of death often is heart failure because the dystrophin deficiency leads to cardiomyopathy, a weakness of the heart muscle that makes the heart less able to pump blood and maintain a regular rhythm. 

Human cloning has been used to create stem cells from adults for the first time, in a breakthrough which could lead to tissue and organs being regrown.

Using the cloning technique that produced Dolly the sheep in 1996, researchers were able to turn adult human skin cells into stem cells, which can grow into any type of tissue in the body.

They even used the cells of a 75-year-old man, raising the prospect of body parts being regenerated in old age.

The advance could lead to new tissue-transplant operations for a range of debilitating disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and spinal cord injuries.

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