Multiple sclerosis research boosted by modeled brain cells

Researchers at The Salk Institute have developed a way to grow vital brain cells called astrocytes from stem cells, a potential breakthrough for basic and clinical research into several diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

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“This work represents a big leap forward in our ability to model neurological disorders in a dish,” Rusty Gage, the study’s lead author and a Salk professor. “Because inflammation is the common denominator in many brain disorders, better understanding astrocytes and their interactions with other cell types in the brain could provide important clues into what goes wrong in disease.”

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Ways of differentiating astrocytes from human stem cells already exist, but are known to be laborious and functionally limited. Using this new method, researchers were able to generate astrocytes more efficiently — using the right “cocktail” of factors at the right time and settings.

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“This technique allows us to begin addressing questions about brain development and disease that we couldn’t even ask before,” Gage said, and with other team members considered the new method a valuable tool for modeling neuroinflammation in disease.

[Read the full study here]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: New Way of Growing Astrocytes from Stem Cells May Aid Research into Brain Disorders Like MS

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