Two groups of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s researchers working in 13 labs nationwide have used advanced stem-cell technology to make human brain cells from skin cells donated by patients with those diseases. The brain cells look and act like cells affected by the diseases, and they can be manipulated in a petri dish. It’s a first for the field, says Dr. Christopher Ross, one of the Huntington’s disease study’s lead researchers and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “It’s going to be a tremendous opportunity to study the disease, to understand it, and particularly to develop therapeutics,” he says.
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