Euan MacDonald Centre Researchers lead Major Stem Cell Research Programme
A national media campaign has been unveiled today for a major stem cell research programme that offers real promise of a breakthrough in the understanding of the causes of Motor Neurone Disease and the development of new treatments. The Motor Neurone Disease Association has funded an £800,000 initiative which supports an international collaboration between Euan MacDonald Centre researchers and teams from King's College London and Columbia University New York.
The researchers have developed methods which convert ordinary human skin cells into cells that resemble embryonic stem cells. These so-called 'induced pluripotent' cells can then be transformed into motor neurones and other cell types. The research will focus on skin cells from patients with a rare inherited form of Motor Neurone Disease caused by a mutation in the TDP-43 gene. Cultured neurones that bear the TDP-43 mutation can be used to investigate the defects caused by this mutation as well as being used to develop and test potential treatments. Moreover, the use of induced pluripotent cells cultured from adult skin cells avoids the moral and ethical issues surrounding embryonic stem cells.
Further coverage can be viewed at:
- The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/breakthrough-in-study-of-motor-neurone-disease-1981136.html