A US team has made a breakthrough in stem cell research, growing new nerve cells from the skin of patients suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS. The work marks the first time disease-specific stem cells have been generated from a patient.The method could be used to tailor replacement cells to create a revolutionary treatment for the fatal degenerative disease, reports the Daily Telegraph.
"No one has ever managed to isolate these neurons from a patient and grow them in a dish," said the lead researcher. "Now we can make limitless supplies of the cells that die in this awful disease." Another expert called the research a "seminal discovery." The ability "to derive ALS motor neurons through a simple skin biopsy opens the doors to improved drug discovery," she said.