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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Artificial brain bank created

20th June 2011

Scientists in Oxford have started the process of creating a "bank of artificially grown brain cells" which are taken from Parkinson's patients.


The researchers are putting into use a new way of working with stem cells which lets them grow a piece of a patient's skin into a piece of brain.

This is the first instance where the technique has been used in order to look at ways of treating Parkinson's.

The team, from Oxford University, said they can look closely at the deterioration of nerve cells.

The initial lot of cells have been grown from a 56-year-old patient called Derek Underwood.

He is the first of 50 patients who will participate in the five year study.

Dr Richard Wade Martins of Oxford University, who is heading the study, said the team was aiming to create a "brain bank" which will allow them to look closely at how Parkinson's progresses.

"The brain is an inaccessible organ and you can't get bits of people's brain to study very easily," he said.

"But what we have here is a disease in a dish, that are just like Derek's brain cells but are accessible and can be produced in unlimited quantities."

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