Indian Researcher Develops Human Brain Cells in a Dish to Study Complex Neurological Disorders

Affiliated with the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Yogita Adlakha has been able to generate brain cells with human-specific features directly from a healthy subject’s blood in a dish. She added that the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells are converted into neural stem cells in a tissue culture dish, which behaves like a neural stem cell.

What is the human-based model that will boost neurological studies?

The answer is stem cell technology. “The idea behind this technology is that we can take the patient’s blood and convert it into induced pluripotent stem cells which are almost similar to embryonic stem cells,” Dr. Yogita Adlakha said. Researchers are developing methods based on stem cells to make 2D and 3D models which can exactly mimic brain architecture and disease pathology. “Once these methods are fully developed, there will be no need for testing drugs on animal models as these brain tissues will reflect the human brain architecture and physiology,” she added.

What is Stem Cell research?

Stem cells are a source of all tissues and understanding their properties helps in enhancing our knowledge of the healthy and diseased body’s development and homeostasis. Stem cells develop into bones, heart muscles, nerves, and other organs. The cells can be guided into becoming specific cells that help in repairing damaged tissues. Stem-cell research is the field that studies the properties of stem cells and their potential use in medicine.

Advancing Neurological Studies

Dr. Yogita Adlakha’s team has contributed to understanding the role of microRNA in the neural stem cell and revealed how certain small non-coding RNAs called microRNA, which regulates the expression of other genes, can enhance the differentiation of neural stem cells into neurons. By regulating the number of genes, microRNAs regulate cellular and physiological processes such as proliferation and cell death act as biomarkers for some cancer. Their involvement in different processes of brain development is known.

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