• Sweden edition
 
Swedish team turns skin into nerve cells

Swedish team turns skin into nerve cells

Published: 07 Jun 2011 12:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Jun 2011 12:51 GMT+02:00

A team of researchers at Lund University in southern Sweden have managed to develop nerve cells from human skin cells without using stem cells - a development described as an ethical and medical breakthrough.

"This fundamentally changes how we look at mature cells and their capacity. Previously a skin cell was thought to always remain a skin cell, but we have shown that it can be any cell," said Malin Parmar, the Lund University researcher leading the study, to The Local on Tuesday.

The new technique works by reprogramming connective tissue cells, so-called human fibroblasts, directly into nerve cells, opening up a new field with the potential to "take research around cell transplantation to the next level".

Parmar explained that members of the research team were surprised at how receptive the fibroblasts were for new instructions.

"From the beginning this was mostly an experiment that was fun to try out. But fairly quickly it was shown that the cells were unexpectedly receptive to instructions," she said.

The study appears in the latest edition of the respected journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), published by the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Parmar told The Local that the team hopes that their work could help to tackle diseases such as Parkinson's and help to avoid the ethical complications of using foetal stem cells.

"It could be used to assist in the treatment of Parkinson's, or any other type of neuro-degenerative disease. It provides an alternative to stems cells," she said.

"Furthermore it allows for the use of a patient's own cells to study the specifics of their condition in a Petri dish - limiting the potential for adverse reactions."

Before the technique is used in clinics more research is required into how the new nerve cells survive and work in the brain, but the goal in the future is to enable doctors to develop the brain cells a patient needs from a simple skin or hair sample.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:45 June 7, 2011 by chang
It is a great innovation in science! The scientists did a really great job!
19:32 June 7, 2011 by Frank Arbach
Thought a team from Stanford University (USA) had already successfully carried out this type of experiment in January 2010. In their case they turned skin cells from mice tails, into brain (nerve) cells
20:49 June 7, 2011 by Keith #5083
There are certain areas of human endeavour - this being one of them - that truly stagger the imagination and give great hope for the welfare of future generations.
10:09 June 8, 2011 by Morenikeji
Shouldn't it be a team of researchers has... not have? Poor grammar is normal on The Local, but not usually from Peter Simpson. So watch it buddy!
20:11 June 9, 2011 by MadDogEnglishman
@Keith#5083

"Thought a team from Stanford University (USA) had already successfully carried out this type of experiment in January 2010. In their case they turned skin cells from mice tails, into brain (nerve) cells "

Yes they did....from MICE tail cells not as the Lund team did from HUMAN SKIN CELLS....hence this is why it is so much more important and worthy of our attention...
23:42 June 10, 2011 by fany82
Frank is right about the team (Wernig group from Stanford) but it was recently in May. They were indeed the FIRST to publish this. Wernig group has made a great Nature paper that reflect the quality and exclusivity of the work. Second place deserves lower journals like PNAS, that's the game in science. When you are second, it doesn't make you a less brillant team, but don't take the credit of the first.

Please next time LOCAL verify your source...
00:00 June 19, 2011 by Gregory Allen Leeds
This could potentialy provide a paridigm change for researchers all over the scientific world who cannot, by reason of Hippocratic Oath, harm a fetus to harvest human embriotic stem cells. The ethical implications are resounding from the Vatican to Mecca. Keep up the good work!
10:29 July 16, 2011 by kyleenC
This is another breakthrough in the field of medicine. I can see now that just a little later, scientists will already find a treatment for brain diseases. Neurodegenerative problems like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease rob millions of their well-being. Remedies elude the best medical minds, but a recent breakthrough may adjust that, reports The Independent. Professionals have now made human neurons from skin cells. I found this here: Scientists create neurons from skin cells without stem cells.
Today's headlines
Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party have stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

751
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com