Posted on Nov 24, 2018, 1 a.m.
Scientists have cultivated a nano-scale substance from stem cells that can repair damaged brain nerves which may open new paths for the development of a cure for neurological and degenerative diseases.
The team from Taiwan’s National Health Research Institute extracted exosomes carrying repairing signals from stem cells that exist in body fat and marrow using their patented technique, which as a substance enables communication between cells, these stem cell derived exosomes carry different signals under different circumstances both healthy and pathological.
Experiments were conducted by the team for 5 years trying to take advantage of the communication characteristic by developing exosomes with healing properties that could be injected into the body to help repair damaged nerves.
Exosomes are not living cells, meaning they cannot develop into cancer cells after being injected into the body. Their outer lipid layer and nano size enables them to circulate in blood and pass through brain barriers to damaged nerves of patients suffering from dementia.
One week after injecting special exosomes into mice with damaged hippocampus regions the team found damaged nerves began to grow synapses which permit neurons or cells to pass electrical or chemical signals to another neuron.
The hippocampus plays critical roles in forming memories, shrinking in this area of the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In the test mice the number of functioning hippocampus neurons had decreased to 20% before treatment and rose to 60% within a month after treatment.
Taiwan’s National Health Research Institute is the first institute to have successfully cultivated the exosomes working to repair; their cultivation technique has been patented in Taiwan and has been applied for in the UK, USA, and Japan.
According to Li Hua-jung the team was limited to treating neurological diseases, but the technique could be applied to therapies for degenerative diseases, cell defection, organ damage, strokes, learning disabilities, or injured brain and spine marrow. The team is working on a paper summarizing their findings and hoping to find a partner to continue with further clinical trials and development of a therapeutic drug.
Material provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.