Discovery of Stem Cells in Brain Membranes May Offer New Paths in Alzheimer’s Research

Discovery of Stem Cells in Brain Membranes May Offer New Paths in Alzheimer’s Research
Scientists have found that the membranes covering the brain — once believed to have little influence on the workings of the organ inside — are housing stem cells. The discovery is likely to advance research into stem cell therapies for brain regeneration, an attractive but so far unreachable treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease. While the study, “Neurogenic Radial Glia-like Cells in Meninges Migrate and Differentiate into Functionally Integrated Neurons in the Neonatal Cortex,” which recently appeared in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is likely to boost stem cell research, the authors admit that plenty of work remains to be done before the power of the newfound cells can be harnessed. A few decades ago, the realization that neuron-producing stem cells exist in the brain revolutionized the way scientists viewed brain damage. Although researchers once believed the brain developed only until adult age, they started realizing it had some regenerative power. With that insight came attempts to use stem cells to regenerate brain tissue lost to diseases like Alzheimer’s. Until now, researchers believed that stem cells existed only in the brain tissue itself. Researchers at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), led by Dr. Peter Carmeliet, changed that longstanding belief when they discovered that the meninges — membranes separating the brain from the skull — of newborn mice contain stem cells. The team observed how the cells traveled to various parts of the brain and became integrated into neural circuits as mature neurons. They were aided in their experiments by a n
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2 comments

  1. Beth Bowman says:

    I am a 66 year old woman with Alzheimers. It runs in my family. My grandmother, aunt, and now myself have been diagnosed with it. I would like to be in a trial to see if this awful disease can be stopped.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Hi Beth… Alzheimers is a horrible disease that can run in the family. It causes so much pain for so many families. Please stay tuned to our site here for info and news about clinical trials. You should also consult with your doctor if there are any in your area.

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