Published: Thursday 15 June 1995

In a significant development towards tackling brain disorders, American researchers claim to have successfully transplanted immature brain cells in mice to treat a genetic brain abnormality similar to one that may cause mental retardation in humans.

Evan Smith of the Harvard Medical School and John Wolfe of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia studied more than 700 mice with a disease identical to sly disease -- an inherited enzyme deficiency that is believed to cause fatal degenerative ailments and mental retardation. Healthy brain cells of newborn mice, when transplanted into the brains of diseased young mice, have been found to secrete the missing enzyme and have eventually cured the disease.

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