A recent study brings good news for people suffering from brain-related medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. The study shows that a newly discovered type of stem cell could be the solution. This newly found stem cell, also identified as G2 quiescent stem cell, is also classified as one of the “sleeping” cells of the brain.
The new research also shows that unlike their counterparts, this new special cells have a higher potential for regeneration. Scientists are looking for ways to harness these stem cells for brain damage treatment, whilst being able to generate cells on demand.
The cells, which are dormant at the moment, could be awakened so as to generate more brain cells. The only bottleneck for scientists is how to awaken these stem cells so that they start generating new cells; other studies have actually shown that the cell awakening procedure is viable. This is based on the fact that G2 quiescent stem cells are relatively easier to awaken as opposed to other dormant cells. Once they wake up, the stem cells can produce glia and neurons, which are the major cell types found in the brain.
For researchers who see the possibility of awakening “sleeping” cells, their proof is hinged on studies involving the small fruit fly, also known as Drosophila. The small fruit fly is one of the best specimens to use for such a study considering it has many genetic similarities with human beings. Tribbles, a gene found in the small fruit fly, has been identified as being capable of controlling the G2 quiescent stem cells in fruit flies. If replicated in human beings, scientists speculate that it can solve the cell awakening mystery in the brain.
Identifying cells that could possibly hold the key to brain cell regeneration is one thing. However, harnessing its abilities is another hurdle that must be crossed over. With the new findings, there is renewed hope that brain damage could be stopped. Diseases such as Parkinson’s disease could also be cured. Such diseases are characterized by the death of brain cells.
Once brain cells start to deteriorate, scientists believed that there is no going back, medical experts are now hopeful to awaken dormant brain cells to start regenerating more cells.
It is believed that more regenerative cells like the G2 quiescent stem cells can be found in other parts of the body, to be used in new regenerative medicine alternatives for patients suffering with neurological disorders.