In a new study that could lead to advancements in Alzheimer's care and prevention, scientists at Stanford University have been able to create new nerve cells from the tails of mice.
The Palm Beach Post reports that the technique could change the way scientists think about gene therapy, and avoid the debate about the ethics of using human stem cells in gene therapy.
The success of the project was a surprise to scientists, who didn't expect the experiment to work.
"From a basic point of view it's exciting because it shows that you can go straight from one differentiated cell and transform it to a different differentiated cell," Paul Sanberg, the director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, told the news source. "But it's still early. It will be a while until cells are made that can be used therapeutically."
The paper was published in the journal Nature.
Business Week reports that the findings may help researchers make new brain cells for those who suffer from Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease from the patient's own skin cells.