Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cécile Duflot ruffles some feathers

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Russian aid convoy drives into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Gunmen kill scores in Iraqi Sunni mosque attack

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Stem cells lead to brain tissue creation

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-06

Stem cells taken from human embryos have been used by Japanese scientists to create functioning brain tissue. A world-first that could lead to the better treatment of strokes or degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

Japanese researchers said Thursday they had created functioning human brain tissues from stem cells, a world first that has raised new hopes for the treatment of disease.
  
Stem cells taken from human embryos have been used to form tissues of the cerebral cortex, the supreme control tower of the brain, according to researchers at the government-backed research institute Riken.
  
The tissues self-organised into four distinct zones very similar to the structure seen in human foetuses, and conducted neuro-activity such as transmitting electrical signals, the institute said.
  
Research on stem cells is seen as having the potential to save lives by helping to find cures for diseases such as cancer and diabetes or to replace damaged cells, tissues and organs.
  
The team's previous studies showed stem cells differentiated into distinct cells but until now they had never organised into functioning tissues.
  
"In regenerative therapy, only a limited number of diseases can be cured with simple cell transplants. Transplanting tissues could raise hopes for greater functional recovery," the institute said in a statement.
  
"Cultivated tissues are still insufficient and too small to be used to treat stroke patients. But study of in-vitro cultivation of more mature cortex tissues, such as those with six zones like in the adult human brain, will be stepped up," it said.
  
The tissues could also serve as "a mini organ" for use in studying the cause of the Alzheimer's disease and developing vaccines, it said.
  
Embryonic stem cells are harvested by destroying a viable embryo, a process that some people find unacceptable.
  
Riken said cortex tissues were also obtained from "induced pluripotent stem cells," which are similar to embryonic stem cells but artificially induced, typically from adult cells such as skin cells.
  
The research was led by Yoshiki Sasai at Riken Centre for Development Biology in western Japan's Kobe.
  
The cultivated tissues look like minature mushrooms two millimetres (0.08 inches) in diametre.
  
The team also succeeded in making cortex tissues from the embryonic stem cells of mice.
  
Using mouse tissues, scientists confirmed they had formed a network of neurons that properly respond to stimulus.
  
The tissues can also be selectively induced to different cortex types controlling memories, visual sensation and other tasks.
  
The findings of the study were published in the November 6 online journal Cell Stem Cell in the United States.

Date created : 2008-11-06

COMMENT(S)