Fetal Brain Tissue transplants failed in Huntington's study - JAMA

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New findings by scientists from Canada and the United States indicate that fetal brain tissue (obtained from aborted fetuses) transplanted into the brains of patients with Huntington's Disease, not only failed to slow or stop disease progression but also actually degenerated faster than the patients OWN brain tissue!  (Cicchetti F. et al, Proc Natl Sci U.S.A. 2009. doi:10,1073/pnas.0904239106 [pub. online ahead of print July 20, 2008])

Previously, animal studies suggested that fetal brain tissue transplants could improve symptoms although human studies had only suggested a small and temporary improvement in disease progress.

In the current study, an autopsy of the brains of three Huntington's patients who got fetal brain tissue transplants 10 years previous, found that the transplanted tissue degenerated more rapidly than the patients' own brain tissue.  These findings, stated the researchers, "raise uncertainty about this potential therapeutic approach" for treating Huntington's.

REF: JAMA, August 19, 2009 - Vol 302, No. 7