A City of Hope researchers are utilizing stem cells to understand the genetic mutations that occur in astrocytes, a type of neuron, as well as damage to the myelin sheath, which is integral to the development of ALS and Alzheimer’s. Stem cells were used to create a model of Alexander disease, which is a neurological disorder similar to ALS and Alzheimer’s in its pathology, part of which involves a genetic mutation that hinders the production of an adequate myelin sheath, a fatty membrane that covers neurons and expedites signal transduction. Using this technique, the researchers homed in on the CHI3L protein, which seems to be primarily responsible for neuroinflammation and stunted neuronal development, including an inadequate myelin sheath.
Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital are advancing Alzheimer’s research by creating lab grown models of affected neurons, which will allow for a vastly improved and nuanced understanding of the inner-workings of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that is difficult to diagnose and currently, can only be confirmed during a post-mortem autopsy, which usually reveals the neural inflammation that is believed to be the cause of most of the symptoms leading to the ultimate loss of memory and basic skills. Using stem cells, the researchers were able to grow neurons that exhibit both neuroinflammation and the indicative tangles and plaques of Alzheimer’s. This major breakthrough should enable the development of more targeted, effective treatments - and possibly a cure for Alzheimer’s, which currently affects millions of people worldwide and has no effective treatment options.
Biostar Stem Cell Research institute has developed a protocol for the use of autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to combat Alzheimer’s Disease with the FDA has approving Phase I and II clinicals trials for the new treatment. The process involves recovering, isolating and culturing the patient’s own stem cells. Culturing the cells results in the production of a clinically significant number of cells, enabling an extended treatment period and protocol. These cells are injected intravenously across ten treatments, using approximately 200 million cells each time. By utilizing the patient’s own stem cells to address neural degradation, the researchers anticipate the treatment may go a long way to both slow the degenerative progression of the disease, while also addressing the root cause of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Researchers at Gutenberg University Mainz have found a way to generate human neurons from pericytes, cells found in the central nervous system, through the use of stem cells. The researchers have observed the process of differentiation that stem cells undergo when they become a new type of cell, and have induced stem cells to go through this process. Therefore, these cells have been directed to become new neuronal cells.