Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have succeeded in transforming skin cells directly into oligodendrocyte precursor cells, the cells that wrap nerve cells in the insulating myelin sheaths that help nerve signals propagate.
The current research was done in mice and rats. If the approach also works with human cells, it could eventually lead to cell therapies for diseases like inherited leukodystrophies — disorders of the brain’s white matter — and multiple sclerosis, as well as spinal cord injuries. The study was published online April 14 inNature Biotechnology.
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New University research is being developed to grow back bones — and it’s not magic from a fantasy novel.
Bone scaffolds, which provide a base for stem cells to produce new bone, currently cost thousands of dollars for a single gram, making them difficult and nearly impossible for average people to buy.
But James Hollier, biological engineering senior, is conducting research to create bone scaffolds that are cheaper but still compatible with the body.
To make the scaffolds, Hollier first makes a solution of organic materials, such as collagen or cellulose, and then freezes it vertically. The porous scaffold is created by this freeze-drying because the water in the solution is removed.
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