In Vitro Parkinson's

Venter admits misquoting Feynman in synthetic DNA; in vitro Parkinson's; immune modulator for melanoma wins US approval


The Scientist 31st March 2011 

Parkinson's in a dish

One of the frustrating realities of Parkinson's disease research is that scientists have not been able to observe closely how brain cells are killed by the neurodegenerative disorder -- until now. Stanford University researchers published a Cell Stem Cell
paper earlier this month reporting that they've successfully recreated the neuronal damage wrought by Parkinson's in a Petri dish. The feat was made possible by inducing pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into dopaminergic neurons that carried the most common Parkinson's-related mutation. When exposed to stressor, such as hydrogen peroxide, the mutant neurons were more likely to die than control neurons.

An interesting side note: the stem cells that were used to generate the mutant neurons were initially harvested from the skin of Google co-founder Sergey Brin's mother, Genia, according to the
Silicon Valley Mercury News. "I'm impressed, almost proud," Brin, told the Mercury News. "I was hoping they would learn something from it, and they did."

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