Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Mapping the Mind
18 April 2015

Mapping the Mind

Our understanding behind the development and self-renewal of human brain cells is limited, since clearly the tissue is not readily available for study. Researchers are now taking a new approach using pluripotent stem cells, which have the ability to develop into different cell types. In this study the stem cells were activated to produce different neural stem cells, and their development was then monitored over the next 220 days using an immunostaining technique. Immunostain images of the activated stem cells (pictured) shows the emission of different colour-coded proteins – for example one called HES5 (green) – creating time-evolved maps of cell development. Using this analysis it’s hoped that a comprehensive data set of different cell development pathways will be created. These data could be used to study cancerous brain cells, helping to construe their origin and development from healthy stem cells, thus identifying patterns that could predict the onset of brain tumours.

Written by Helen Thomas

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