Scientists have improved upon their own previous world-best efforts to pluck out just the right stem cells to address the brain problem at the core of multiple sclerosis and a large number of rare, fatal children’s diseases.
Details of how scientists isolated and directed stem cells from the human brain to become oligodendrocytes – the type of brain cell that makes myelin, a crucial fatty material that coats neurons and allows them to signal effectively – were published online and in the October issue of Nature Biotechnology by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University at
Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.
Scientists have created a way to isolate neural stem cells – cells that give rise to all the cell types of the brain – from human brain tissue with unprecedented precision, an important step toward developing new treatments for conditions of the nervous system, like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases and spinal cord injury.
The work by a team of neuroscientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center was published in the Nov. 3 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Neurologist Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurology, led the
University of Rochester Medical Center scientists believe they are the first to identify genes that underlie the growth of primitive leukemia stem cells; and then to use the new genetic signature to identify currently available drugs that selectively target the rogue cells.
Although it is too early to attach significance to the drug candidates, two possible matches popped up: A drug in development for breast cancer (not approved by the Food and Drug Administration), and another experimental agent that, coincidentally, had been identified earlier by a URMC laboratory as an agent that targets leukemia cells.