(From left) Dr. Li Hung-wing, Associate Professor of the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Cathy Lui, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, and Professor Ken Yung, Professor of the Department of Biology, hope that the novel technique could be applied to the treatment of neurological problems such as Parkinson’s disease.


(左起)香港浸會大學化學系副教授李紅榮博士、生物系博士後研究員雷雅萍博士及生物系教授翁建霖教授,希望新研發的一項個人化幹細胞療法可有助治療神經退化疾病如柏金遜症。

The study shows that the magnetic microsurgery process is simple and safe to implement on animal subjects.


研究團隊發現在動物身上使用磁場的顯微手術過程簡單及安全。

nanoparticles


超順磁性納米粒子

Date: 23 Oct 2013 (Wednesday)

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HKBU scholars develop new personalised neurological disorder therapy using magnetic-tagged neural stem cells pulled from live brains

浸大學者率領團隊研發「個人化幹細胞療法」    可為治療神經退化疾病帶來新突破

Professor Ken Yung, Professor of the Department of Biology of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has been leading his research team in developing a new tailor-made neurological disorder therapy in adult mammals which may be applied to the treatment of neurological problems such as Parkinson’s disease. Under the new technique, the team uses magnetic nanoparticles covered with antibodies to safely extract neural stem cells from rats. Neurospheres are successfully generated in vitro from the extracted neural stem cells and the newly generated neural cells can be transplanted back to the same rats. Unlike the use of embryonic stem cells, this novel technique may reduce ethical disputes, and offers a genetically stable means of therapy with lower risks of immune rejection. The research received a provisional patent by The United States Patent and Trademark Office.
 
At present there are no satisfactory treatments that offer an ultimate cure for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Most of the current treatments only provide relief from symptoms. Therefore, cell replacement therapy has raised patients’ hopes. Unfortunately, the safety of using embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells in treating these diseases is questionable due to the genetic instability of these cells and risks of immune rejections.
 
In the study, Professor Yung and his team demonstrate for the first time a simple magnetic separation process for the extraction of stem/progenitor cells from the choroid plexus lining along the subventricular zone of the brain of rats by introducing magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles coated with antibodies (Ab-MNPs) into that specific region of the brain with a superfine micro-syringe. In comparison with using embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, neural stem/progenitor cells offer a remarkably safe, viral-free and novel neural stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine. Neural stem cells possess the unique characteristic of being able to self-replicate and generate the various phenotypes of the nervous system. They can be extracted, modified and re-applied to the same subject. The use of these cells may help develop a new tailor-made neurological disorder therapy. As the cells originate from the patients themselves, the risk of immune rejection can be greatly reduced. This technique is potentially applicable to both young and adult patients.
 
The study also shows that the magnetic microsurgery process is simple and safe to implement on animal subjects. After extracting the stem cells from the nanoparticles, the team found they could grow them in a dish, suggesting they were undamaged by the process. The rats that received the treatment remained alive and apparently healthy. Thus, another novel application of the study is the isolation of multipotent neural stems cells/progenitor from adult brains without killing the animal or inflicting significant damage.
 
Professor Yung believes that the new technology, though in the early stages of development, could potentially have biological and clinical applications, particularly in the area of regenerative medical treatment, from bench to bed.
 
The study entitled “Neural Stem Cells Harvested from Live Brains by Antibody-Conjugated Magnetic Nanoparticles” was published on Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Vol. 52, (2013): 1-6.

香港浸會大學生物系教授翁建霖教授率領團隊,成功研發一項個人化幹細胞療法,以帶抗體的磁性納米粒子提取哺乳類動物的神經幹細胞,經培養成個別患病動物所需的神經球細胞後,再注射入同一患病動物的神經細胞,度身訂造一個合適患者的治療方案。比較傳統使用胚胎幹細胞的方法,新方法下,患者使用自身的神經幹細胞為來源,相信能減少道德爭議、維持基因穩定性,以及降低患者免疫排斥反應的風險。研究已獲美國專利商標局發出臨時專利。
 
現今醫學上對神經退化疾病如柏金遜症及認知障礙症(又稱老人痴呆症或腦退化症)的治療只有助減輕症狀,未有徹底根治病症的方法。細胞替代療法可為患者帶來希望,但患者接受他人的細胞後基因表現不穩定及可能產生免疫排斥反應,令使用胚胎幹細胞或誘導性多功能幹細胞方法的安全受到質疑。
 
翁教授與團隊首次運用磁性納米粒子,透過微量調節注射器,在老鼠的腦部原位提取神經幹細胞,經培養後以神經球細胞形式注入同一老鼠的腦部。比較一般使用胚胎幹細胞或誘導性多功能幹細胞的方法,新方法提供一個更安全、防止病毒入侵的神經幹細胞治療法及再生醫學的方案。神經幹細胞有自我複製和在神經系統產生各種表現形態的特點,因此可以被抽取、修改及再注入同一患者的細胞,這樣便有助度身訂造一個合適患者的治療方案。被抽取及再注入的細胞來自同一患者,應有助減低排斥的機會。新方法有望應用到年輕及成年患者身上。
 
研究結果顯示,在動物身上使用磁場的顯微手術過程簡單及安全。研究團隊把幹細胞從磁性納米粒子提取出來後,放在培養皿內並確保細胞不會受到傷害。此外,團隊觀察到老鼠在接受注射手術後活動如常。因此,研究結果可推展至從成年人類患者的腦部抽取多功能幹細胞或原細胞而不傷害患者的新方法。
 
翁教授認為這項新技術雖在早期研究階段,但他期望技術可運用到生物和臨床應用上,特別是從基礎研究到臨床應用的再生醫學的發展。
 
有關〈Neural Stem Cells Harvested from Live Brains by Antibody-Conjugated Magnetic Nanoparticles〉研究報告,已於《Angewandte Chemie International Edition》(2013,第52期,1-6頁)上刊登。
 
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Press Contacts 傳媒聯絡:

Professor Ken Yung

Department of Biology

3411 7060

翁建霖教授

生物系

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Tina Ng

Communication and Public Relations Office

3411 5262 / 7472 2122

吳貝芝

傳訊公關處

3411 5262 / 7472 2122