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Regina Bailey

Brain Stem Cell Generation

By March 30, 2012

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This microscopic image shows artificially produced induced neural stem cells.
Image courtesy of University of Bonn

A research team from the University of Bonn has developed a new method for producing brain stem cells. The method allows for the direct production of induced neural stem cells that are capable of developing into various cells of the nervous system. The induced neural stem cells produced in the study were derived from the connective tissue cells of mice.

According to lead researcher, Dr. Frank Edenhofer, "Since we cut down on the reprogramming of the cells via the embryonic stage, our method is about two to three times faster than the method used to produce iPS cells." Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are genetically altered adult stem cells that are induced or prompted in a laboratory to take on the characteristics of embryonic stem cells. These cells can develop into a variety of different types of cells and tissues. The researchers state that unlike cells derived from iPS cells or embryonic stem cells, there is a low risk of tumor formation. Because of this, the researchers envision that induced neural stem cells could be used to replace improperly functioning neurons and other cells of the nervous system.

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