Log in with your email address username.

×

Attention doctorportal newsletter subscribers,

After December 2018, we will be moving elements from the doctorportal newsletter to MJA InSight newsletter and rebranding it to Insight+. If you’d like to continue to receive a newsletter covering the latest on research and perspectives in the medical industry, please subscribe to the Insight+ newsletter here.

As of January 2019, we will no longer be sending out the doctorportal email newsletter. The final issue of this newsletter will be distributed on 13 December 2018. Articles from this issue will be available to view online until 31 December 2018.

News briefs

- Featured Image

Reprogramming brain cells may help Parkinson’s

Cells similar to dopamine neurons can be induced by treating non-neuronal brain cells with a specific combination of DNA transcription factors, according to a study published in Nature Biotechnology. The new reprogramming method has been demonstrated both in cultured human cells and in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. A defining feature of Parkinson’s disease is the progressive death of a specific group of neurons that secrete dopamine. Although several treatments are available to patients, including the chemical precursor of dopamine, none change the course of the disease. A decades-long research effort has sought to develop a disease-modifying therapy in which dopamine neurons or their precursors would be generated in the laboratory and transplanted into the brain. The authors of this study described a different approach to cell replacement that does not require cell transplantation. By testing a number of genes known to be important for dopamine neuron identity, they identified three transcription factors and a microRNA that reprogrammed human brain cells called astrocytes as cells that resemble dopamine neurons. The authors used a toxin to kill dopamine neurons in mice and then delivered the genes for the four factors to the brain using a system designed to express the genes only in astrocytes. Some astrocytes were successfully reprogrammed,…

email