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Neural Stem Cell Study Reveals Mechanism that May Play Role in Cancer

By Jennifer O'Brien, UCSF News Services | September 4, 2007

n the dynamic world of the developing brain, neural stem cells give rise to neurons deep within the brain's fluid-filled ventricles. These newborn neurons then migrate along the stem cell fibers up to the neocortex, the seat of higher cognitive functions. Now, scientists have discovered a key mechanism of this migration - one that may also play an important role in other developmental processes and diseases, including cancer.

The finding, the cover story in a recent issue of Nature (Aug. 23, 2007), was led by Laura Elias, a neuroscience graduate student in the laboratory of senior author Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology and director of the UCSF Institute for Regeneration Medicine.

Elias is one of 16 UCSF CIRM Stem Cell Scholars -- up and coming young scientists funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, established by California voters in 2004 to allocate $3 billion over 10 years to support stem cell research.

Read more at Jennifer O'Brien, UCSF News Services