Australian scientists link nose stem cell to brain study

16:37, October 27, 2010      

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Australian scientists on Wednesday opened a new window on the brain, by investigating stem cells picked from deep within the nose.

According to Australia's Griffith University research team, scrapings taken from inside the nose, from the olfactory system, were found to contain adult stem cells very similar to those that would be active inside the brain.

Professor at Griffith University's School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, Alan Mackay-Sim said the ability to collect neural stem cells with a simple biopsy, via the nose, would give scientists a new way to search for the genetic factors thought to be driving many brain disorders.

"There are very strong disease-specific differences in the biology of these cells and they must be reflecting what it happening in the brain," Professor Mackay-Sim told Australia Associated Press on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Professor Mackay-Sim indicated this new window into brain development could reveal new targets for treatments, and allow for earlier diagnosis of disease.

It should speed up the development of drug-based treatments, he said.

The research is detailed in a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Disease Models and Mechanisms.



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