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
Image via Wikipedia
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
Parkinson’s Disease – Medical world has struggled in finding permanent cure for this condition that usually affects men over the age of 50 years, but now this maybe changing with the advent of stem cell based research in regenerative medicine. A significant clinical human trial using these technique now seems feasible in the near future.
Stem Cells and its Potential:
Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish
A research breakthrough has proven that it is possible to reprogram mature cells from human skin directly into brain cells, without passing through the stem cell stage. The unexpectedly simple technique involves activating three genes in the skin cells; genes which are already known to be active in the formation of brain cells at the foetal stage.
The new technique avoids many of the ethical dilemmas that stem cell research has faced.
For the first time, a research group at Lund University in Sweden has succeeded in creating specific types of nerve cells from human skin. By reprogramming connective tissue cells,