Scientists have made a major breakthrough in the study of Alzheimer's disease by successfully replicating disease neurons with stem cells.
The development could herald a better understanding of the disease and potentially lead to new treatments.
Researchers used the extracted fibroblasts from two patients with familial Alzheimer's, two patients with sporadic Alzheimer's and two people with no known neurological problems and two healthy controls to develop the neurons.
"We're dealing with the human brain. You can't just do a biopsy on living patients," said senior study author Dr Lawrence Goldstein, distinguished professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program.
"Instead, researchers have had to work around, mimicking some aspects of the disease in non-neuronal human cells or using limited animal models. Neither approach is really satisfactory."
The new development could allow scientists to investigate the disease with much more depth.
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