AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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Discovery May Advance Neural Stem Cell Treatments for Brain Disorders

Study reveals novel cross-talk between RNA and histones

 

New research from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) is among the first to describe how an mRNA modification impacts the life of neural stem cells (NSCs). The study reveals a novel gene regulatory system that may advance stem cell therapies and gene-targeting treatments for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and mental health disorders that affect cognitive abilities.

“Being able to maintain viable stem cells in the brain could lead to regenerative therapies to treat injury and disease,” says Jing Crystal Zhao, Ph.D., assistant professor at SBP. “Our study reveals a previously unknown but essential function of an mRNA modification in regulating NSC self-renewal. As NSCs are increasingly explored as a cell replacement therapy for neurological disorders, understanding the basic biology of NSCs—including how they self-renew—is essential to harnessing control of their in vivo functions in the brain.”

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