Phase 1 of the stem cell pilot study is progressing well.
Adult nerve stem cells are being obtained from the olfactory mucosa (nasal lining) by a nasal biopsy from SPG4 HSPers. More than 10 of Australia’s HSPers have volunteered for the biopsy.
Once collected and separated from the blood mucosa, the stem cells are grown in vitro (in glass) and the differences, HSPer vs normal controls, become the basis for detailed investigation.
Prof. Carolyn Sue of the Kolling Medical Research Institute node of NCASCR has almost achieved the Pilot Study first objective of establishing 10 HSP SPG4 cell lines from 10 HSPers. The HSPers are from several States and ethics demand they remain anonymous.
Once the cell lines are growing to Prof. Sue’s satisfaction, they will be sent to the NCASCR at Griffith University in Brisbane where researcher Greger Abrahamsen will investigate genetic and biochemical differences. This hopefully leads onto further research – defining drug targets, which will be screened to identify any compounds with the potential to restore normal cell function.