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Myelination gets direct

Separate groups at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed similar approaches to directly reprogram rodent fibroblasts into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells.1,2 The direct lineage conversion method could be a safe and fast way to supply cells for myelination disorder cell therapies. Now, the teams need to show that their methods also reprogram human fibroblasts.

Myelination disorders include leukodystrophies and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). In all cases, loss of the myelin sheaths around axons of neurons impairs nerve firing and causes nervous system deficiencies.

Most available treatments for myelination disorders aim to slow demyelination or treat symptoms, but none repair or replace myelin.

One starting point for that goal is oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), which are components of the CNS white matter that generate oligodendrocytes, the cells that produce myelin during development and after injury in the CNS.

But current sources of OPCs are limited

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