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Monday, November 9, 2015

Microchips May Be New Standard in Multiple Sclerosis Studies

Chip technology could replace cell cultures to further disease understanding, researchers


<span class="entry-title">Microchips May Be New Standard in Multiple Sclerosis Studies</span><span class="entry-subtitle">Chip technology could replace cell cultures to further disease understanding, researchers say</span>


In a new article published in the journal Trends in Biotechnology, Korean researchers suggest that diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) might be better studied using compact, accessible chip technology than in current methods. The report, titled Central Nervous System and its Disease Models on a Chip, appeared on Oct. 20, 2015.
The study of multiple sclerosis (MS) may advance via use of microchip systems because these platforms could serve as mini-brains, complete with neurons, supporting cells known as glia, and connected neuronal circuitry. Unlike a traditional “cell culture,” scientists can arrange cells on chips in an organized fashion, instead of simply growing them in a dish.
Chip “systems have been rapidly progressing over the past decade, enabling the development of unique microplatforms for in vitro human central nervous system (CNS) and related disease models,” the researchers note. Such platforms might, for example, help scientists to understand myelin loss and how to prevent it.
In MS, neurons lose myelin, the fatty substance that wraps around nerve connectors (axons) and helps promote  communication within the nervous system. When myelin deteriorates, individuals may experience symptoms such as movement loss, vision problems, coordination loss and sensory problems.

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