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The latest patent joins others that the company has already been granted in Israel and Europe, for its innovative way of producing supporting cells in the central nervous system from stem cells -- including myelin-producing cells.
Researchers can't yet reproduce the supporting cells in the lab and so need to get those cells from embryos, Hayashi says.
Another promising approach is to directly reprogram supporting cells, already present in the heart--for instance, fibroblasts (e.
The experiments tested the efficacy of injecting the brain supporting cells (astrocytes) produced through the company's technology from pluripotent stem cells.
But new research reveals that supporting cells in the ear can turn into hair cells in newborn mice.
Astrocytes are neural supporting cells that have been shown to be involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Building on the results of that work--and early data from previous stem cell research--the team decided to focus on the role of defective communication between stem cells and their supporting cells in the cornea.
The strategy involves activating supporting cells which play a key role in the construction of blood vessel walls.
Researcher Matthew Frontini, from the University of Western Ontario, said yesterday: "FGF9 seemed to 'awaken' the supporting cells and stimulated their wrapping around the otherwise fragile blood vessel wall.
The sensory cells are spindle-shaped with darkly stained nuclei and supporting cells that are oval and more transparent (Crofts 1929, Bevelander 1988).

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