A new stem cell study recently released from the Rochester Medical Center (URMC) exhibits for the first time that neural stem cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) could hold the key one day for treating myelin-related conditions. These conditions include multiple sclerosis and various rare pediatric leukodystrophies.
Led by Steven Goldman, researchers in an animal study were successful in creating these myelin-producing cells. The cells were created from a hiPSC line, derived from human skin cells. Goldman said their study suggests that a hiPSC based treatment would be effective and that cells derived from iPSCs appear to be more effective than ones derived from embryonic stem cells.
The study has great implications in the field of treating neurological conditions resulting from myelin loss. Myelin is an insulating material which forms a layer called the myelin sheath, which in turn plays an important role in the proper function of the central nervous system. Some indicative examples of such conditions are multiple sclerosis and a few extremely rare pediatric and commonly fatal conditions called pediatric leukodystrophies.
Myelin is produced by oligodendrocytes, a type of cell derived from neural stem cells (NSCs). It has long been hypothesised that myelin-related conditions may be treatable with therapies that would introduce a “fresh” population of healthy neural stem cells that in turn would differentiate into oligodendrocytes regenerating the lost myelin.