Stem Cell-Derived Neurons Mimic Alzheimer’s Pathogenesis

This story is part 6 of an occasional series on the current progression in Regenerative Medicine. In 1999, I defined regenerative medicine as the collection of interventions that restore to normal function tissues and organs that have been damaged by disease, injured by trauma, or worn by time. I include a full spectrum of chemical, gene, and protein-based medicines, cell-based therapies, and biomechanical interventions that achieve that goal.

A recent paper displays striking progress in Alzheimer’s disease research. A team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School has discovered methods to grow neurons and brain tissue from stem cells that surprisingly, imitate the unique characteristics of donors with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects approximately 50 million people worldwide. It is characterized by gradual cognitive decline and is often undetected until late stages of the disease. This has prevented researchers from understanding its root causes as studies are typically limited to just those with advanced cases.

Lagomarsino et al. has discovered that tissues grown from stem cells imitate the distinct characteristics of Alzheimer’s that are found in an individual’s brain. This is a significant study that could provide a new window of research into the molecular causes of Alzheimer’s disease and allow scientists to study how Alzheimer’s progresses differently across individuals.

Read the full article on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.