Understanding New Brain Research Models
Scientists can now grow living human brain tissue in lab dishes and in animals, creating organoids, neural transplants, and chimeras. While these models will help us better understand the brain in health and disease, they also raise thorny ethical questions that will only get thornier in the future.
Your Brain Under the Microscope: The Promise of Stem Cells
Until recently, scientists primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells from animals and humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic “somatic” or “adult” stem cells. Scientists are just now beginning to improve their understanding of a third kind: induced pluripotent stem cells. Our authors describe how they were discovered, what they are, and why a growing number of researchers and clinicians believe that they may be one of the keys in helping address various brain disorders.
The Promise and the Reality of Stem-Cell Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Jonathan D. Glass, M.D., is leading a clinical trial testing the safety of using adult stem cells to treat patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that remains untreatable. This trial, along with others like it, is just the beginning of a time-intensive process necessary to determine whether the benefits of stem-cell treatments—if there prove to be any—outweigh the risks. See also Commentary on this article, by Vassilis E. Koliatsos, M.D., and Leyan Xu, M.D., Ph.D.
Commentary on “The Promise and the Reality of Stem-Cell Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases”
Vassilis E. Koliatsos, M.D., and Leyan Xu, M.D., Ph.D., describe the research leading up to Dr. Jonathan Glass' clinical trial, which tests the safety of using stem cells to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. See also Glass's article describing his research.