The brain is a complex body organ that controls our consciousness, vision, breathing, motor skills, thoughts, memories, emotions, and other processes that regulate our body.
Together, the brain and spinal cord make up our central nervous system. Inside the brain, we have neural stem cells. reNEW researchers focus on generating neural stem cells that may lead to the development of new drug therapies for numerous neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, autism, and Parkinson’s disease. Their generation of stem cell-based brain organoids (mini organs produced in the lab) from pluripotent stem cells replicates the complex cellular development of the brain and represents a major advancement in the modelling of the human brain. This research offers unique opportunities to investigate the mechanisms behind neurological diseases and find treatments for them.
reNEW researchers are also pioneers in directing the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to specific types of neurons for cell therapy applications. The first-in-human clinical trials for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease are currently underway. Here, stem cell-derived nerve cells are being transplanted into the brain of patients with Parkinson’s disease. There is a hope that similar approaches can be used for dementia and narcolepsy.