Tag Archives: Skin

Stem Cells: From skin cells to motor neurons

A team of Harvard stem cell researchers has succeeded in reprogramming adult mouse skin cells directly into the type of motor neurons damaged in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), best known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). These new cells, which researchers are calling induced motor neurons (iMNs), can be used to study the development of the paralyzing diseases and to develop treatments for them.

Producing motor neurons this way is much less labor intensive than having to go through the process of creating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC, iPS cells), and is so much faster than the
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Stem Cells May Offer New Hope For Alzheimer’s

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.

Stem cells hold promise for male sterility

A Montana State University researcher and her co-researchers are receiving international attention for showing that skin cells from infertile men can be used to create the precursors of sperm – research that holds promise for treating male infertility (…)

The team took skin cells from men who suffer from a genetic disorder, known as azoospermia, which prevents them from producing sperm. Those skin cells were then turned into stem cells, specifically, induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSC. Like other stem cells, iPSC have the ability to become any other type of cell.

The team then implanted the stem cells into the
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Scientists Reprogram Skin Cells into Brain Cells

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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Efficient process using microRNA converts human skin cells into neurons

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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