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Alzheimer’s disease is the main cause of dementia and currently, it affects approximately 35 million people worldwide. The main cause for the disease is not clear, however research shows that people with Alzheimer’s have an abnormal deposition of certain proteins in brain, with beta-amyloid as the major protein. These plaques make the nerves tangled and prevent the cells from obtaining enough nutrition, as well as interrupting proper cells to cells communication. An effective cure has not been found up to-date, as the disease is complex and disrupts many nerve cells in many parts of the brain. As there are many different types of neuron are affected, scientists are now trying to replace these damage brain cells. Then, how can stem cells help to cure Alzheimer’s? Recently, scientists grew stem cells in-vitro, then reprogrammed them into specialized cells. These ‘reprogrammed’ stem cells are termed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSc). Briefly, researcher collected skin cells from Alzheimer’s patients, directed the skin cells to be iPSc cells, followed by growing neuron cells from the generated iPSc cell. These lab-grown neuron cells released beta-amyloid, the main protein which causes plaques in Alzheimer’s patient. This achievement might open new window for the researcher to understand more detailed mechanism of how plaques are form, and hence, search and test for new drugs.

Read more: http://www.eurostemcell.org/factsheet/alzheimer%E2%80%99s-disease-how-could-stem-cells-help

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