Navigation Links
New genetic technique converts skin cells into brain cells
Date:6/9/2011

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, called fibroblasts, directly into nerve cells, a new field has been opened up with the potential to take research on cell transplants to the next level. The discovery represents a fundamental change in the view of the function and capacity of mature cells. By taking mature cells as their starting point instead of stem cells, the Lund researchers also avoid the ethical issues linked to research on embryonic stem cells.

Head of the research group Malin Parmar was surprised at how receptive the fibroblasts were to new instructions.

"We didn't really believe this would work, to begin with it was mostly just an interesting experiment to try. However, we soon saw that the cells were surprisingly receptive to instructions."

The study, which was published in the latest issue of the scientific journal PNAS, also shows that the skin cells can be directed to become certain types of nerve cells.

In experiments where a further two genes were activated, the researchers have been able to produce dopamine brain cells, the type of cell which dies in Parkinson's disease. The research findings are therefore an important step towards the goal of producing nerve cells for transplant which originate from the patients themselves. The cells could also be used as disease models in research on various neurodegenerative diseases.

Unlike older reprogramming methods, where skin cells are turned into pluripotent stem cells, known as IPS cells, direct reprogramming means that the skin cells do not pass through the stem cell stage when they are converted into nerve cells. Skipping the stem cell stage probably eliminates the risk of tumours forming when the cells are transplanted. Stem cell research has long been hampered by the propensity of certain stem cells to continue to divide and form tumours after being transplanted.

Before the direct conversion technique can be used in clinical practice, more research is needed on how the new nerve cells survive and function in the brain. The vision for the future is that doctors will be able to produce the brain cells that a patient needs from a simple skin or hair sample. In addition, it is presumed that specifically designed cells originating from the patient would be accepted better by the body's immune system than transplanted cells from donor tissue.

"This is the big idea in the long run. We hope to be able to do a biopsy on a patient, make dopamine cells, for example, and then transplant them as a treatment for Parkinson's disease", says Malin Parmar, who is now continuing the research to develop more types of brain cells using the new technique.


'/>"/>

Contact: Malin Parmar
malin.parmar@med.lu.se
46-709-823-901
Lund University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. UT Southwestern research uncovers genetic link between emphysema, lung cancer
2. Scale helps to measure the utility of genetic counseling in tackling fear of cancer
3. Study identifies genetic mutations associated with cancer risk for hereditary cancer syndrome
4. Researchers characterize epigenetic fingerprint of 1,628 people
5. UCI researchers find link between environment and genetics in triggering MS
6. New advances in lipid genetics lead to better detection and prevention of major diseases
7. Researchers home in on genetic signature of esophageal cancer
8. Study gives clue as to how notes are played on the genetic piano
9. Scientists use genetically altered virus to get tumors to tattle on themselves
10. Evolutionary geneticist to give talk at UC Riverside on how biological species evolve and adapt
11. Genetic Test Shows Promise in Guiding Breast Cancer Care
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... Getting enough sleep affects much more than energy – ... just 19 hours without sleep can compromise motor reaction time, which can increase the risk ... Insurance is sharing the following tips from the NSF to help you sleep better and ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... york (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... to announce that Aditya Patel M.D. has joined the revolutionary endoscopic practice under ... and board certification in Interventional Pain Medicine. The patented, revolutionary eDiscSculpt Technique created ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... ... People are starting to accept that hearing aids can be helpful and ... it had when great-grandpa wore his hearing aids years ago,” said Dr. Maura Marks, ... American Speaker Series (NASS) segment. β€œHe probably wore an iPod-size hearing aid on ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Intellitec Solutions announced the publication of a ... Dynamics GP solution that integrates to their PointClickCare EHR software package. With the ... Brooke Grove now has the capability to achieve its goal for a comprehensive ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... Tenn. (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... system, today announced an alliance with B. Braun Medical Inc. , a leader ... role in patient care with as many as 90 percent of hospital patients receiving ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... MINNEAPOLIS , April 20, 2017  Cogentix ... company focused on providing the Urology, Uro/Gyn and ... reported that Ash Keswani has joined the Company ... In this newly created position, Mr. Keswani will ... and CEO. "Our organization is delighted ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Market and Increasing Usage of Complex Biologics during the Forecast Period" ... ... 20 Billion in 2015 to around USD 26 Billion by 2020. ... by Rapidly Expanding Injectables Market and Increasing Usage of Complex Biologics ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... 20, 2017 Eyevensys, a private ... non-viral gene expression technology that enables the safe, local, ... address a wide range of ophthalmic diseases, announces it ... products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to advance its technology into ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: