Growing Neurons From Stem Cells in the Lab
Stem Cells Get Brainy[ ... Read the rull report ... ]
04:04 PM Jun. 13, 2005 PT
WASHINGTON -- Scientists working in mice said they had found a way to identify master cells in the brain and grow them in large batches -- a potential way of helping patients grow their own brain tissue transplants.
"We've isolated for the first time what appears to be the true candidate stem cell," said Dennis Steindler of the University of Florida, who worked on the study.
"There have been other candidates but in this case we used a special microscope that allows us to watch living cells over long periods of time through a method called live-cell microscopy, so we've actually witnessed the stem cell give rise to new neurons. Possibly a different method may come up to identify the mother of all stem cells, but we're confident this is it."
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said they also found an efficient way to make the cells multiply.
"It's like an assembly line to manufacture and increase the number of brain cells," said Dr. Bjorn Scheffler, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida who led the study.
"We can basically take these cells and freeze them until we need them. Then we thaw them, begin a cell-generating process, and produce a ton of new neurons."
Anthony H. Risser | neuroscience | neuropsychology | brain