Stem cells cultured from human bone marrow behave like those derived from brain tissue

Jan 25, 2007

Stem cells taken from adult human bone marrow have been manipulated by scientists at the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to generate aggregates of cells called spheres that are similar to those derived from neural stem cells of the brain.

In addition, the bone marrow-derived stem cells, which could be differentiated into neurons and other cells making up the central nervous system, spread far and wide and behaved like neural stem cells when transplanted into the brain tissue of chicken embryos.

Results of the experiments, described in the February 2007 of the Journal of Neuroscience Research, support the concept of using bone marrow-derived stem cells to create therapies to treat brain tumors, strokes and neurodegenerative diseases. A similar study using bone marrow-derived stem cells of rats appeared as the cover article of the December 2002 issue of Experimental Neurology.

"These findings reinforce the data that came from our study of rat bone marrow-derived stem cells," said John S. Yu, M.D., neurosurgeon, co-director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program, and senior author of both articles. "Using two methods, we show evidence for the bone marrow-derived stem cells being neural cells, and we demonstrate that it is feasible to grow the cells in large numbers. We also document that these cells function electrophysiologically as neurons, using similar voltage-regulating mechanisms."

Progressing from the rat study to experiments with human cells and transplantation into mammal brain tissue, the research team continues to build a foundation for translating laboratory research into human clinical trials.

"Based on our studies to date, a patient's own bone marrow appears to offer a viable and renewable source of neural stem cells, allowing us to avoid many of the issues related to other types of stem cells," said Keith L. Black, M.D., director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and chairman of Cedars-Sinai's Department of Neurosurgery.

The replacement of damaged brain cells with healthy cells cultured from stem cells is considered to potentially be a promising therapy for the treatment of stroke, neurodegenerative disorders and even brain tumors, but finding a reliable source for generating neural cells for transplantation has been a challenge. The use of embryonic and fetal tissue has raised ethical questions among some, and brings with it the possibility of immune rejection. And while neural stem cells can be taken from brain tissue, the removal of healthy tissue from a patient's brain introduces a new set of safety, practicality and ethical issues.

In their recent work, the Cedars-Sinai researchers documented that several genes that speed up and control the proliferation process could be used to rapidly expand the supply of marrow-derived neural stem cells, writing in the article that "this novel method of expansion … may prove to be useful in the design of novel therapeutics for the treatment of brain disorders, including tumors."

Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Explore further: Recombinant peptide for transplantation of pancreatic islets in mice models of diabetes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Measuring the pulse of trees

Mar 16, 2015

I read many years ago that if you wanted a tree to recognise you, you would need to sit quietly at its base for a week. Very Zen!

Sugar key to cellular protein protection and viability

Mar 16, 2015

A Simon Fraser University laboratory's breakthrough in understanding how a specialized sugar regulates protein levels in our cells could generate new targets for therapies to treat diseases caused by improper protein regulation. ...

Activating genes on demand

Mar 04, 2015

When it comes to gene expression - the process by which our DNA provides the recipe used to direct the synthesis of proteins and other molecules that we need for development and survival - scientists have ...

Recommended for you

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing

Mar 26, 2015

An experimental therapy developed by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University cut in half the time it takes to heal wounds compared to no treatment at all. Details of the therapy, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.