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Small brain biopsies can be used to grow patient's own brain cells

Date:
September 30, 2013
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Scientists have grown brain cells in the laboratory that may be re-integrated into patients' brains to treat neurological conditions. Research shows biopsied brain cells can be used to grow new healthy cells with powerful attributes to protect the brain from future injury. These cells may hopefully yield specific cell types needed for particular treatments, or cross the "blood-brain barrier" as specific therapeutic agents released directly into the brain.

A group of really brainy scientists have moved closer to growing "therapeutic" brain cells in the laboratory that can be re-integrated back into patients' brains to treat a wide range of neurological conditions. According to new research published online in The FASEB Journal, brain cells from a small biopsy can be used to grow large numbers of new personalized cells that are not only "healthy," but also possess powerful attributes to preserve and protect the brain from future injury, toxins and diseases. Scientists are hopeful that ultimately these cells could be transformed in the laboratory to yield specific cell types needed for a particular treatment, or to cross the "blood-brain barrier" by expressing specific therapeutic agents that are released directly into the brain.

"This work is an example of how integrating basic science and clinical care may reveal privileged opportunities for biomedical research," said Matthew O. Hebb, M.D., Ph.D., FRCSC, a researcher involved in the work from the Departments of Clinical Neurological Sciences (Neurosurgery), Oncology and Otolaryngology at the University of Western Ontario in Ontario, Canada. "It is our hope that the results of this study provide a footing for further advancement of personalized, cell-based treatments for currently incurable and devastating neurological disorders."

Scientists enrolled patients with Parkinson's disease who were scheduled to have deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, a commonly used procedure that involves placing electrodes into the brain. Before the electrodes were implanted, small biopsies were removed near the surface of the brain and multiplied in culture to generate millions of patient-specific cells that were then subjected to genetic analysis. These cells were complex in their make-up, but exhibited regeneration and characteristics of a fundamental class of brain cells, called glia. They expressed a broad array of natural and potent protective agents, called neurotrophic factors.

"From an extremely small amount of brain tissue, we will one day be able to do very big things," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "For centuries, treating the brain effectively and safely has been elusive. This advance opens the doors to not only new therapies for a myriad of brain diseases, but new ways of delivering therapies as well."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. Xu, L. Belkacemi, M. Jog, A. Parrent, M. O. Hebb. Neurotrophic factor expression in expandable cell populations from brain samples in living patients with Parkinson's disease. The FASEB Journal, 2013; 27 (10): 4157 DOI: 10.1096/fj.12-226555

Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Small brain biopsies can be used to grow patient's own brain cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930114109.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2013, September 30). Small brain biopsies can be used to grow patient's own brain cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930114109.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Small brain biopsies can be used to grow patient's own brain cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930114109.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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