New breakthroughs involving oligodendrocytes and stems cells, and their impact on multiple sclerosis

Parker Scott


Multiple sclerosis is a disease that involves the demyelination of the nerves in the Central Nervous System (CNS).  Myelin acts as the insulation for the signals that travel along the axons. Oligodendrocytes are the cells that manufacture this myelin covering in the CNS, and when this function ceases, problems being to arise.  This is the case with multiple sclerosis.  Recently, advances have been made in stem cell research that looks promising in the repair or replacement of dysfunctional oligodendrocytes.  Some studies indicate that stem cells have the ability to ‘morph’ into other desired cells.  However, much of this science is still in it’s infancy.  Experiments involving the use of stem cells to create oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) have produced lack luster results.  Currently, stem cells cannot match normal production rates or cannot create true OPCs.  These are some of the hurdles that science is currently trying to overcome. This research is important not only to the treatment of multiple sclerosis.  If stem cells have the potential that some studies suggest, they could be the beginning of a medical breakthrough.

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