Friday, August 10, 2007

An Alternative to Stem Cells for Treating Chronic Brain diseases!

With ethical issues concerning use of discarded embryos and technical problems hindering development of stem cell therapies, scientists in Korea are reporting the first successful use of a drug-like molecule to transform human muscle cells into nerve cells. This advance could lead to new treatments for stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders.

In the study, Injae Shin and colleagues point out that stem cell research shows promise for repairing or replacing damaged nerve cells to treat such diseases. However, many barriers hinder efforts to move those therapies from lab to clinic. The use of "small molecules" -- compounds that include most drugs -- to generate new nerve cells from easily available cells or tissues would provide a more convenient and attractive approach to stem cell therapies, the new study notes.

The researchers exposed immature mouse muscle cells (myoblasts) growing in laboratory cell cultures to neurodazine, a synthetic small molecule. After one week, 40-50 percent of the myoblasts were transformed into cells that resembled both the structure and function of nerve cells, including expression of neuron-specific proteins. Additional studies showed a similar transformation in a group of human skeletal muscle cells that were exposed to the same chemical for several days, they add.

"In conclusion, we have developed the first small molecule that can induce neurogenesis of non-pluripotent myoblasts and the cells derived from mature, human skeletal muscle," the report states. "These studies build upon recent research illustrating the value of chemical approaches for providing tools that differentiate lineage-committed cells into other cell types."

3 cared to comment:

rahul said...

nice article....

Dr. Thomas.. said...

ya this is a new breakthrough.. if this is succesful... It will be big boon for medical sciences...

littleWriter on 7:25 PM said...

hey lil doc :) for these type of medical newz i wud like to see a lil more cmtmnt from u, i mean u hv to describe in words so that the thing becomes more digestible 4 non-medical guyz... aftrall must b knowing how slow the patient parties r in undrstndng the med prblms :) wat i'm xcited abt is -"generate new nerve cells from easily available cells or tissues"

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