Medicine might help us heal ourselves, by giving us ways to control how our cells grow. Using a mix of small molecules, two groups of scientists in China have successfully turned human skin cells into neurons. They hope that their technique could help rejuvenate failing tissues in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
The two teams in China focused on strategies for converting skin cells to neurons, with one group focusing on skin cells from mice and the other on humans. Results of their work are published in two papers today from the journal Cell Stem Cell. The team working on human cells drew their samples from Alzheimers patients, because one possible end goal of this research would be to produce working brain cells that could supplement failing tissues in the brains of people with dementia.