A team of scientists has discovered what could be a novel source for researching and potentially treating Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions involving the destruction of brain cells.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco-affiliated Gladstone Institutes converted skin cells from mice and humans into brain stem cells with the use of a protein called Sox2. Using only this protein to transform the skin cells into neuron stem cells is unusual. Normally, the conversion process is much more complex.
Led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, scientists have, for the first time, created stem cell-derived, in vitro models of sporadic and hereditary Alzheimer’s disease, using induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with the much-dreaded neurodegenerative disorder.
“Creating highly purified and functional human Alzheimer’s neurons in a dish – this has never been done before,” said senior study author Lawrence Goldstein, PhD, professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program. “It’s a first step. These aren’t perfect models.
Stem cells are not invincible and therefore not likely to be the magic wand in the world of medicine, but they may be a great clue in finding what will be, a research professor explained on Thursday.
As part of a stem cell seminar series, Barbara Driscoll, Ph. D presented a lecture in the U Building titled “The Impact of Aging on Stem Cells.” The presentation covered basic information about stem cells, the aging process of mammals and how the two are so crucial to the next great discovery in medicine.
Driscoll is an assistant professor of Developmental Biology at USC
StemCells Inc. announced preclinical data demonstrating that its proprietary human neural stem cells restored memory and enhanced synaptic function in two animal models relevant to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The data was presented today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2012 in Vancouver, Canada.
The study results showed that transplanting the cells into a specific region of the brain, the hippocampus, statistically increased memory in two different animal models. The hippocampus is critically important to the control of memory and is severely impacted by the pathology of AD. Specifically, hippocampal synaptic density is reduced in AD and correlates with memory loss.