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Indian-origin scientist turns blood into nerve cells

Fri, May 22, 2015, 01:17 PM
Toronto, May 22: Stem cell scientists led by Mick Bhatia from the McMaster University have successfully converted adult human blood cells into neural cells.

The team directly converted adult human blood cells to both central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) neurons as well as neurons in the peripheral nervous system (rest of the body) that are responsible for pain, temperature and itch perception.

This means that how a person's nervous system cells react and respond to stimuli can be determined from his blood.

"Now we can take blood samples and make the main cell types of neurological systems - the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system - in a dish that is specialised for each patient. Nobody has ever done this with adult blood. Ever," explained Bhatia, director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.

Bhatia's team successfully tested their process using fresh blood as well as frozen blood.

Scientists can actually take a patient's blood sample and with it, can produce one million sensory neurons that make up the peripheral nerves in short order with this new approach.
Agency: IANS

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