U of R researchers’ myelin breakthrough may have gotten us one step closer to a cure for MS, Alzheimer’s.

So who has actually heard anything about stem cell research lately? I know that there was a ton of controversy around the moral aspect of it a few years ago, but has anybody really been bringing it up? Really. I would like to know.

At any rate, no matter what one’s moral views are (or were, since not many still actively have an opinion), there’s really no arguing the fact that myelin-based stem cell research is probably one of the largest potentially disease-curing gold mines in the medical community.

The key to finding out the true benefit of stem cell research, however, is a safe & stable amount of healthy cells to utilize, which has been hard to come by until very recently.

A study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center focuses on cells called “glial progenitor cells,” or GPCs. GPCs are stem cells that are found in the white matter of the brain, and, long story short, yield two crucial body cells, both of which are necessary for a functional central nervous system.

If it’s a disease that’s rooted in myelin deficiency, you’ve probably heard of it; multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy are just two on the list, and have probably affected whoever is reading this article at one point or another.

Alzheimer’s disease victims and their families are also among the many who would benefit from this. Stem cell research is key in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, and with this new breakthrough, the process that is used is going to be a much more reliable one. This discovery could lead to something remarkable.

So yes, to put it simply, this is a big breakthrough. The thing to keep your eye on is exactly where doctors are going to be able to go with it. A cure for MS? Fantastic. Ridding the world of cerebral palsy? Magnificent. Hopefully we can knock Alzheimer’s out in the future.

We’ll see what happens. Miracle cures definitely don’t happen over night, but right now, we can see the start of something significant, right here in Rochester.