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Start 3D Cultures for Understanding Alzheimer’s
14 November 2013

3D Cultures for Understanding Alzheimer’s

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This week Microbiology Professor José Antonio Lopez Guerrero initiates a collaboration with OpenMind. He will be sharing parts of his radio program in Spanish radio RNE, “Entre Probetas” (Among Test Tubes), explaining the latest advances in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

A few years ago we saw the reconstruction of a human trachea using a three-dimensional culture of stem cells. Similar techniques have also been used to create a beating heart. Recently, and by that I mean a few days ago, Nature Medicine published that researchers at the General Hospital of Massachusetts have managed to manufacture rat kidneys in the laboratory. Once they were transplanted they began to filter blood and excrete urine like any other kidney. Regenerative medicine using 3D cultures with stem cells is really taking off.

A team of researchers at the Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute in New York, coordinated by Scott Noggle, have just published in Stem Cell Research details of an innovative technique of 3D stem cell cultures for use to research into the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Specifically, they have managed to produce 3D cultures of so-called induced pluripotent stem cells. These are cultures that were already known in another context as embryoid bodies. Researchers have been able to measure electrical activity and take images of live cells, as well as making three-dimensional cell models for studying neuropathologies.

In the words of those responsible for the project, the aim is to examine neurodegeneration in a Petri dish by reprogramming induced pluripotent cells into neurons and other possible brain cells from the patient’s skin cells or blood samples.

As a result, two-dimensional neuronal cultures that are not very functional for in vivo studies have been turned into three-dimensional 3D structures allowing sensitive measurements to be taken of neuronal electrical activity. At the same time, the researchers have been able to visualize something that they explain is “key for preparing reliable models for the study of neurodegenerative diseases.”

If you want to listen to the original content (in Spanish only), You can enjoy it here..

José Antonio López Guerrero

Microbiology Professor at UAM (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). Researcher and Director of the Scientific Culture Department of the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center

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