The team of neurosurgeons at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm removed the stem cells from patients undergoing routine operations for water on the brain, Svenska Dagbladet has reported.
In cooperation with scientists at UCLA in Los Angeles, the team succeeded in getting the cells to develop into three different types of brain cell.
According to Ulf Westerlund, one of the researchers on the project, they have so far managed to grow several million cells from the stem cells, of which 25 percent are neurons.
“We also managed to create working synapses, or contacts, which are necessary for nerve cells to work,” he told Svenska Dagbladet.
Being able to grow new brain cells could have major applications for degenerative brain diseases such as MS, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s.
Stem cells are undeveloped cells, which can develop into any type of cell in the human body.