Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neural Stem Cells Take A Step Closer To The Clinic

Date:
June 10, 2003
Source:
University Of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Scientists working with cells that may someday be used to replace diseased or damaged cells in the brain have taken neural stem cell technology a key step closer to the clinic.

MADISON - Scientists working with cells that may someday be used to replace diseased or damaged cells in the brain have taken neural stem cell technology a key step closer to the clinic. Writing in the current online edition (June 2003) of the Journal of Neurochemistry, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Waisman Center describe the first molecular profile for human fetal neural stem cell lines that have been coaxed to thrive in culture for more than a year.

Related Articles


The work is an in-depth analysis of global gene expression in human neural stem cells and demonstrates a method for prolonging the shelf life of cultured fetal stem cells, making it possible to generate enough cells to use to treat disease, says Lynda Wright, the lead author of the paper.

"We have now characterized long-term neural stem cells lines," she says. "That genetic characterization - and our ability to grow these lines for a year or more - is one of the major steps toward clinical application."

Unlike human embryonic stem cells, stem cells derived from fetal tissue are not capable of growing in culture indefinitely. But because neural fetal stem cells have been available to science for a much longer period than cells derived from embryos, their capabilities are better known to scientists and they may reach the clinic as therapies for disorders like Parkinson's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) much sooner.

In culture, the cells can be coaxed into becoming "neurospheres," aggregates of precursor brain cells that, when implanted, can migrate to different parts of the brain, integrate themselves and develop into many of the different types of specialized cells that make up the brain.

"These cells are the basis for future therapies. These are the cells we want to transplant," said Clive Svendsen, senior author of the Journal of Neurochemistry paper and a leading authority on neural stem cells.

But scientists have been limited by the tendency of these cells to peter out in culture, making it difficult to generate quantities that could be used therapeutically. The Wisconsin team reported work on three cell lines that were kept growing and dividing in culture for 50 weeks.

The Wisconsin researchers were able to extend the shelf life of the neural stem cell lines by adding a signaling chemical known as leukemia inhibitory factor to the medium in which the cells were grown.

The cells were then subjected to "gene chip" analysis, a powerful method for scanning the activity of thousands of genes at once. Nearly 33,000 genes were monitored across the three cell lines to chart genetic activity. Knowing what genes are at work is critical for characterizing and preparing cells for use in transplant therapy.

"This is the first real genetic analysis of neural stem cells," says Svendsen. "It is like creating a library and a bank at the same time."

By tuning in to the genes that are at work in the neurospheres, scientists will be able to gain the molecular insight necessary to create cells that can be customized for therapy. For example, the Wisconsin group was able to monitor the activity of genes that influence immune response.

A critical hurdle for any cells or tissue used in transplants is finding ways to get around the body's immune system, which targets foreign cells and tissue for rejection. Through genetic manipulation, it may be possible to create cells that fool the immune system, obviating the need for drugs to suppress the immune system in order for the transplant to be accepted by the body.

"We saw a huge number of MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genes that were affected," Svendsen says. "This is how cell surfaces are influenced so that the immune system can recognize them."

Svendsen emphasizes that while the new work represents necessary and key steps on the path to clinical use of stem cells, much work remains to be done before such cells are used in therapy.

"This gets us closer," he says. "But we still have a lot of work to do before these cells achieve their promise as treatments for neural diseases."

Svendsen says the data from the gene chip analysis would be placed online and made available to other researchers studying neural stem cells.

Other co-authors of the paper include Jiang Li, Kyle Wallace and Jeffrey A. Johnson, also of UW-Madison, and Maeve A. Caldwell of the University of Cambridge. The work was funded by grants from the Wellcome Trust, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Environmental Health Science Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Neural Stem Cells Take A Step Closer To The Clinic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030610075134.htm>.
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. (2003, June 10). Neural Stem Cells Take A Step Closer To The Clinic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030610075134.htm
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Neural Stem Cells Take A Step Closer To The Clinic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030610075134.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins