No, it’s not a science fiction novel. It is a science-based process developed by members of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Scientists at the UNAM Institute of Cellular Physiology (IFC) are experimenting on culturing and transplanting reprogramed neurons, to treat some neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Iván Velasco Velázquez, an IFC researcher, explained that in his laboratory they work with reprogrammed cells, which originate from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). This is a method through which adult cells are induced to become stem cells, and then reprogramed into another cell.

At a media conference, on the occasion of Brain Awareness Week, the scientist explained that the work consists of reprograming iPSCs into dopaminergic neurons, for Parkinson’s disease, and motor neurons for ALS.

The method helps to counteract the damage of these two diseases, because they are really localized in some parts of the brain, and not spread like Alzheimer’s, Velasco Velázquez said.

During the conference, it was said that to investigate these and other brain-related studies, the UNAM recently created a bachelor’s degree in neurosciences, which is a multidisciplinary career with no previous background in Mexico or Latin America. Its headquarters will be the Faculty of Medicine and will have the support of the institutes of Cellular Physiology and Neurobiology, besides the advice of the Faculties of Sciences and Psychology.

 

Source: La Jornada