1. Blood to Feeling: McMaster Scientists Turn Blood into Neural Cells

    Hamilton, ON (May 21, 2015) - Scientists at McMaster University have discovered how to make adult sensory neurons from human patients simply by having them roll up their sleeve and providing a blood sample. Specifically, stem cell scientists at McMaster can now directly convert adult human blood cells to both central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) neurons as well as neurons in the peripheral nervous system (rest of the body) that are responsible for pain, temperature and itch perception.

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  2. Quotes

    1. The problem is that unlike blood, a skin sample or even a tissue biopsy, you can't take a piece of a patient's neural system. It runs like complex wiring throughout the body and portions cannot be sampled for study.
    2. Now we can take easy to obtain blood samples, and make the main cell types of neurological systems - the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system - in a dish that is specialized for each patient.
    3. If I was a patient and I was feeling pain or experiencing neuropathy, the prized pain drug for me would target the peripheral nervous system neurons, but do nothing to the central nervous system, thus avoiding non-addictive drug side effects.
    4. This bench to bedside research is very exciting and will have a major impact on the management of neurological diseases, particularly neuropathic pain.
    5. The problem is that unlike blood, a skin sample or even a tissue biopsy, you can't take a piece of a patient's neural system. It runs like complex wiring throughout the body and portions cannot be sampled for study.
    6. Now we can take easy to obtain blood samples, and make the main cell types of neurological systems - the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system - in a dish that is specialized for each patient.
    7. If I was a patient and I was feeling pain or experiencing neuropathy, the prized pain drug for me would target the peripheral nervous system neurons, but do nothing to the central nervous system, thus avoiding non-addictive drug side effects.
    8. This bench to bedside research is very exciting and will have a major impact on the management of neurological diseases, particularly neuropathic pain.