(photo credit: Ars Electronica)
While Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy are two very different conditions that impact people in very different ways, they have one major commonality:
They both stem from complications of the brain.
Being the most complex part of the human body, the brain is not so easy to repair. However, it would stand to reason that if we could better learn a way to fix various brain tissues and nerves, we’d figure out how to cure multiple conditions at once.
As it happens, a recent discovery in neuroscience could just lead to a cure for both MS and Cerebral Palsy.
Replacing What’s Been Lost
Since MS and Cerebral Palsy are caused by damaged and destroyed brain cells, those cells would have to be replaced in order to bring about full functionality. A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine have found a way to do that.
By taking ordinary skin cells, they can convert them into brain cells, thus replacing the missing or malfunctioning cells. The specific type of cell needed is called a myelinating cell. These cells that forms a protective cover around the neuron called a “myelin sheath”, thus allowing the neuron to send signals to the body.
With these cells missing, the neurons don’t work or misfire, causing complications in mobility as well as erratic body movement. So far, they have successfully used skin cells to regenerate a myelin sheath around nerves in mice.
They’re hoping to do the same in humans.
The Story So Far
Up to this point, the only potential way to treat these conditions was to use stem cells or fetal tissue, both of which are in short supply and had mixed results. Skin cells on the other hand are overly abundant in their availability.
With the success they’ve had so far with mouse tissue, human application will commence soon. The doctors see this as a huge breakthrough for many people suffering from motor and neuron related conditions.
For future information in regards to MS and Cerebral Palsy development, make sure to come back here to the Rollx Vans blog.