Researchers create stem cells from human skin that can be made into nerves
Keio University researchers have succeeded in creating neural stem cells, which can be made into nerves in a short period of time, directly from human skin cells.
Using the method, it takes only about two weeks to create neural stem cells, while the established method of creating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and making them into neural stem cells takes about half a year.
The researchers -- Keio University instructor Wado Akamatsu and professor Hideyuki Okano -- announced their research results in the online edition of U.S. magazine Stem Cells on March 28.
In an experiment, the researchers planted four types of genes, which are needed to create iPS cells, into human skin cells, cultivated the cells for seven days, and then changed the cultivation medium for the next three days. As a result, they succeeded in creating neural stem cells in about two weeks
The researchers earlier confirmed that mice that became unable to walk after their spines are deliberately damaged become able to walk again after neural stem cells made from iPS cells are planted in them within a certain period of time.
Since the old method takes half a year to create neural stem cells, it had been believed necessary to set up a cell bank to store iPS cells and neural stem cells made from human cells in advance in order to apply the method to people.
However, if the new method is put into practical use, it will take only two weeks to create neural stem cells, rendering a cell bank unnecessary.