Feeds

From stem cell to brain cell in a petri dish

Bit of a breakthrough

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Researchers in Florida have grown brain cells to maturity in the lab for the first time ever. The researchers identified and harvested stem cells from the brains of adult mice and encouraged them to grow by mimicking the way the brain naturally regenerates.

The work opens the possibility of new treatments for degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, and could lead to the development of new drugs to encourage damaged nerves to re-grow, the researchers say.

Key to the research is the identification of the stem cell. Professor Dennis Steindler, who led the research, explains that he and his team used a special microscope that allowed them to watch living cells over a period of time. This, he added, means that they have seen the stem cells give rise to new neurons.

"We've isolated for the first time what appears to be the true candidate stem cell," he said. "We've watched it under a living microscope generate brand new neurons."

The breakthrough means that scientists can now generate virtually limitless quantities of mouse brain cells, and are confident that the technique will soon work for humans as well. And because the cells would originally have come from the patient being treated, there would be no need for immuno suppressant drugs.

Bjorn Scheffler, a neuroscientist at Florida University says that although researchers have grown brain cells in the lab before, this is the first time the whole process has been reproduced, step by step. "Our study shows for the first time the entire process that goes on in our brain for life. We can, in a dish, recapture the process in front of our eyes," The Independent quotes him as saying.

The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Related stories

Bush pledges to veto stem cell bill
Scientists hail stem cell breakthrough
Whiskery stem cells grow skin, muscles and neurons

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.