Scientists at the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institutes have for the first time transformed skin cells — with a single genetic factor — into cells that develop on their own into an interconnected, functional network of brain cells.
The research offers new hope in the fight against many neurological conditions because scientists expect that such a transformation — or reprogramming — of cells may lead to better models for testing drugs for devastating neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
This research comes at a time of renewed focus on Alzheimer’s disease, which currently afflicts 5.4 million people in the United States alone —
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Italian researchers have discovered new stem cells that could be potential sources of ‘spare’ neurons. A study carried out at the University of Verona has led to the discovery of Leptomeningeal Stem Cells (LeSC), a new population of stem cells located in the the meninges, which cover the entire central nervous system in mammals.
LeSCs are immature cells able to maintain themselves and differentiate into mature excitable neurons. This demonstrates that the brain has a greater regenerative capacity than what was believed until now. The results of the study, conducted on an animal model, were
The addition of two particular gene snippets to a skin cell’s usual genetic material is enough to turn that cell into a fully functional neuron, report researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding, published online July 13 in Nature, is one of just a few recent reports of ways to create human neurons in a lab dish.
The new capability to essentially grow neurons from scratch is a big step for neuroscience research, which has been stymied by the lack of human neurons for study. Unlike skin cells or blood cells, neurons are not something that’s easy
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New hope in treating Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, an incurable neurological disease, which is particularly frequent in former soccer players, may come from stem cells. Nicholas Maragakis and his colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore in the United States, have successfully conducted an important experiment in mice. In a study published in the online edition of ‘Nature Neuroscience’, the American researchers transplanted precursor cells called astrocytes, which function as support cells for neurons, into the mice with ALS. This allow the mice to survive for much longer.
A team of researchers has now compared the ability of cells derived from different types of human stem cell to reverse disease in a rat model of Parkinson disease and identified a stem cell population that they believe could be clinically relevant.
Parkinson disease results from the progressive loss of a specific subpopulation of nerve cells. Current treatments provide only relief from the symptoms of the disease and cannot reverse the nerve cell loss.
Stem cells are considered by many to be promising candidate sources of cells to reverse nerve cell loss in individuals with Parkinson disease through their ability to