Feeds

Scientists brew up pure nerve stem cells

UK and Italian team hails breakthrough

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have announced the successful creation - in conjunction with the University of Milan - of nerve stems cells, hailing the breakthrough as a great leap towards possible treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

The initial application for the cells will be to test the effectiveness of new medicines. Lead boffin professor Austin Smith told the BBC: "We're already talking with the bio-technology and bio-pharmaceutical companies about taking these cells into screening systems for new drugs. Hopefully that will come to pass within two to three years."

The long-term aim, however, is to use the cells for transplantation, although Smith admitted: "In terms of the possibility of using the cells for transplantation, that's a much more difficult and longer term thing and I think there we're talking more of the five to ten year range."

In creating the stem cells, the Edinburgh and Milan scientists overcame the tricky problem of not ending up with dish full of mixed stem and specialized cells. As the uni's blurb explains: "Until now, scientists had not been able to sustain the ability of neural stem cells to produce copies of themselves when grown in a dish. This meant that the population of cells in the dish would always become mixed, with only a few stem cells and many more specialized cells. By changing the growth conditions for the cells, the Edinburgh and Milan labs have for the first time established pure stem cell divisions, thus avoiding the unwanted differentiated cells."

Milan team member Luciano Conti concludes: "We applied techniques developed to control the behaviour of embryonic stem cells to our neural stem cells. The knowledge we already have about embryonic stem cells helped us to understand and control these more specialized stem cells." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.