Tag Archives: stem cells

Belgian scientists have completed a study, reprogramming skin cells from three dementia patients into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – immature cells that mimic stem cells taken from early-stage embryos. Their findings, which revealed a signalling pathway linked to frontotemporal dementia (FTD), are published in the January 13th 2015 edition of the journal, Stem Cell Reports.

Prof. Philip Van Damme, from the Leuven Research Institute for Neuroscience and Disease in Belgium, said: “Our findings suggest that signalling events required for neurodevelopment may also play major roles in neurodegeneration.

Treatment with a drug that suppressed the pathway, known as “Wnt”, restored the ability of neurons affected by the disease to develop normally. “Targeting such pathways…may result in the creation of novel therapeutic approaches for frontotemporal dementia”, Prof. Van Damme said.

The researchers found that iPSCs derived from the patients’ cells were unable to generate cortical neurons, the cell type most affected by FTD. Cortical neurons are the cells responsible for most of the brain’s complex higher activity enabling thought, perception and voluntary movement.

Co-author Dr Catherine Verfaillie, from the University of Leuven in Belgium commented that IPSC models could now be used to better understand dementia, and in particular FTD, which accounts for about half of dementia cases before the age of 60.

Source:  Alzheimer Europe

Parkinson’s disease patients can find hope in a new treatment, thanks to stem cell research that successfully replaces damaged nerves. Swedish researchers have figured out how to create neurons that become lost in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients. They published their findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Carried out under the leadership of Malin Parmar of Lund Univerity, a member of the European consortia NeuroStemcell, the study reports an important experimental novelty in regenerative medicine strategies. This could pave the way to the clinical application of stem cells in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

In the study, researchers took human embryonic stem cells (hESC) from in vitro fertilization embryos and grew them into motor neurons. The neurons were transplanted into the brains of rats with Parkinson’s disease, and over the course of five months, their dopamine levels rose back to normal.
The study showed that these new neurons are capable of mimicking the features of damaged neurons as well as connecting to neurons of the host brain through a dense network of branches reaching target brain areas. This discovery can open new perspectives for the future development of innovative treatments of this and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s Disease.