The CBC is reporting that Canadian scientists are turning blood stem cells into nerve cells
The new technique involves extracting stem cells from blood — ones that normally have the potential to become red blood cells or various kinds of white blood cells involved in fighting off pathogens. The blood stem cells are converted over about a month into neural stem cells.
These neural stem cells are then manipulated in the lab to give rise to several types of nerve cells, including those that make up the peripheral nervous system throughout the arms, legs and the rest of the body.
His lab hopes to further develop the blood-generated neural stem cells into motor and other kinds of neurons that could conceivably one day be transplanted into patients to restore healthy brain cells as a treatment for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Lou Gehrig's disease, as well as retinal nerve cells to treat people who are losing their sight due to age-related macular degeneration,