By Don C. Reed
Dear Friend of Stem Cell Research:
For one month, I will make available a short (2-3 paragraphs) daily piece summarizing one aspect of the stem cell research—my layman’s understanding of it—done by scientists connected to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
The material is drawn from the CIRM (cirm.ca.gov) website. For more info, look up your disease of interest there. Kevin McCormack deserves credit for most of the science writing. A cheerful overview was provided by Melissa King. Any mistakes are my own. In most cases I have left out the scientists’ names. A few I have written about in books before, and those I felt free to credit directly.
There are no politics involved, other than my sincere wish that you participate.
Remember in November!
What if one specialized cell could fight several neurological diseases?
A tantalizing possibility…take a look!
“Microglia are specialized cells that play critical roles in …the body’s immune defense… They fight back against terrible nerve disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury and autism…(1)
If we could increase the microglia, could that help fight the disease?
To find out, the scientists first had to learn how to make more microglial cells.
A “glow in the dark” fluorescence helped them separate the cells rapidly and accurately; one million cells became fifty million—of just the right kind.
“Our team…established a method to differentiate (turn) stem cells into microglia.”
What difference might that make? Follow the microglia…
A gene called CD 33 “is thought to influence Alzheimer’s disease by the clearance of beta-amyloid, (removing plaques and tangles from the brain)…” (2)
Using mouse models…the team will examine the role of that gene (in microglia) to “study important questions about genetics and causes of Alzheimer’s disease…”
And now? “Many independent labs have replicated our approach to perform cutting-edge research on a variety of human diseases….”
Microglia…Something to remember, which may help your neurological concern.