Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Research: Stem cell breakthrough discovery for MS

You have again been searching the News again and there has been some debate amongst the bloggers, about a report from Cleveland Ohio, USA by Najm et al. Nature Methods 24 Sept.

It is good that you Bloggers posts things and maybe we can have a new feature
(Mouse)Doctoring the News!

This is what this Blog is about unravelling the Research News..Bad or Good..

As you must realise we at Team G believe that getting myelin back onto nerves is a real priority to help all MSers, whether you have progressive Ms or not. It has been a difficult ask because until we can put the flames of MS out, adding myelin back is like putting wood on a fire. However, we have been making distinct in-roads in the fire extinguisher department, so this new publication is highly topical.

The team from Ohio have taken pluripotent stem cells (means they can grow into any cell type in the body) and then using a cocktail of growth factors and inhibitors and stimulators that are applied at different time points in the development of the cells they have been able to make alot of oligodendrocytes-the cells that make myelin.

Whilst this has been done in the past, the importance of this study is that it can be done consistently and this a is a great step forward for anyone working in the field of myelin repair, as it gives a source of cells that:

(a) Allows us to reduce animal use (as these are normally a source for these cells).
(b) Have a large number of cells to be able to understand and study this process.
(c) We have large numbers of cells do that we can design assays to hunt for drugs that can promote the production and differentiation of myelin cells for treatments (as it would be too complicated to use the cocktails of chemicals that the researchers used in the study to do this in people with MS). The researchers showed evidence that this a possibility.
(d) It provides us with a source of cells that we can use to see it they can overcome the problems created by MS in experimental models. This study showed that the cells grown could make myelin in animals that naturally lack myelin. However, it is one thing to find ways to make myelin-forming cells, it is another thing to ask then to get into a scar and repair the myelin after the damage has been around for some time. However, addressing these questions will inform how best to apply the knowledge to MS

These are are all vital steps in helping to get drugs to help MS.

What this study does not say (the media might), is that now we can make millions of cells for treatment of MSers. This is only a step moving towards this goal.

We first need to see how this study in mice can be applied to making human cells. This is important because we know that not all of the factors that trigger this process in mice are used by human cells to do the same thing.

However it shows proof of principle that it can be done! So why can't it be done for human cells?...No reason at all, it is just a question of hard slog, a bit of inspiration and finding the right combination of growth factors, inhibitors and stimulators. This study by the mousErs will no doubt stimulate the humanErs to help them find the answers for making human myelinating cells.

I have a great experiment ready waiting for this to happen.

4 comments:

  1. I am the Anonymous who posted the news and thank you for following-up!

    To wrap things up : I am what you would call an informed MS (i.e. a research-inclined Phd drop-out who has basic but sufficient understanding of RSS to gather news...) .
    This piece is one of the most exciting I have seen this year. FOR REAL.
    (no conflict here, I am one of G's patient).
    I wish that the G team (Mousedoc et al.) follow-up on this research. Happy to donate some cash, time , and volunteering to any effort in that particular direction.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No one likes a gloater Mr Anonymous. You should be more humble.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello,

    Very good site you have created. Stem cells are cells that divide by mitosis to form either two stem cells, these are increasing the size of the stem cell...

    ReplyDelete
  4. To Anonymous 2 (i.e. send comment on by an anonymous on this page, from the one who keeps barking):

    I told you to steer away from my posts ass-hole.
    Many thanks for your kind cooperation.

    ReplyDelete

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