facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Skin cells turned into brain cells

July 28, 2011 at 9:13 PM   |   Comments

SAN FRANCISCO, July 28 (UPI) -- Researchers in California say they've discovered a method of converting human skin cells into brain cells, offering new hope for regenerative medicine.

In an article in the journal Cell Stem Cell, Sheng Ding, a scientist at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, reported on a way of transforming adult skin cells into neurons that are capable of transmitting brain signals, a Gladstone release reported Thursday.

"This work could have important ramifications for patients and families who suffer at the hands of neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease," Lennart Mucke, director of neurological research at Gladstone, said.

Ding's work builds on the cell-reprogramming work of another Gladstone scientist, Shinya Yamanaka, who in 2006 discovered a way to turn adult skin cells into cells that act like embryonic stem cells.

Ding used two genes and a microRNA to convert a skin sample from a 55-year-old woman directly into brain cells that exchanged the electrical impulses necessary for such cells to communicate with each other.

"These cells are not ready yet for transplantation," Ding said. "But this work removes some of the major technical hurdles to using reprogrammed cells to create transplant-ready cells for a host of diseases."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Spiders prefer the city life
2
Rock-eating bacteria discovered in buried Antarctic lake
3
Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg: I'll take the ice bucket challenge, and improve it
4
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
5
Seals, sea lions likely spread tuberculosis to humans
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback