IT'S like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Researchers have reached inside the brain of a rat and pulled out neural stem cells?– without harming the animal.
Since the technique uses nanoparticles already approved for use in humans, it is hoped that it could be used to extract neural stem cells from people to treat conditions like Parkinson's, Huntington's and multiple sclerosis.
Extracting neural stem cells (NSCs) from the person who needs them would avoid immune rejection?– but they are difficult to remove safely.
Tsang's team coated magnetic nanoparticles with antibodies that bond tightly to a protein found on the surface of NSCs. They then injected the nanoparticles into the lateral ventricles of rats' brains. Six hours later, after the nanoparticles had bonded to the NSCs, the researchers used a magnetic field around the rats' heads to pull the stem cells together. They could then be sucked out of the brain with a syringe.
After freeing the stem cells from the nanoparticles, the team found they could grow them in a dish, suggesting they were undamaged by the process.
The rats, meanwhile, were back on their feet within hours of the surgery, showing no ill effects (
Magnetic nanoparticles drag stem cells out of the brain
Nanoparticles injected into the rat brain bond to neural stem cells, clump together and are sucked out together without causing any damage
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