Blood-Brain Barrier Breakthrough Could Provide New Treatments for Brain Injuries
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have made a critical breakthrough in unmasking the mysteries of the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from detriment, but also hinders it from receiving medical treatment. Through the use of stem cells, though, these researchers believe that they may have unlocked the potential of learning how to work beyond the limitations of the barrier in treating and curing brain damage.
The blood-brain barrier separates blood flow from the brain’s extracellular fluid and the central nervous system. The main purpose of the barrier is to protect the brain and its fluid from bacteria and disease; however, its main flaw is that it also disallows medicine to permeate the endothelial cells that comprise it. This becomes an issue as physicians and scientists have long tried to create and develop a cure to a number of brain diseases and injuries.
Now, though, through the use of stem cells, the Wisconsin researchers have replicated those endothelial cells and are able to examine them to determine how they work. The scientists believe that by breaking down and studying these cells, they will be able to understand the blood-brain barrier better than anyone ever has.
These researchers believe that they can revolutionize the way that medicines are created for treating specific brain injuries. Through better comprehension of the blood-brain barrier, they may be able to generate better treatments for strokes, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and a number of other brain disorders that are currently incurable.
The ultimate advantage of working with stem cells and creating replica blood-brain barriers is that the researchers can make them with specific diseases. This provides them with a front row look at how the barrier reacts in how it opposes the disease, as well as how it hinders the application of medications and treatment.