Our lab aims to reverse glial scar back to normal neural tissue by gene delivery and/or chemical treatment. Recently, We have discovered a cocktail of small molecules that can reprogram human brain astroglial cells into neuron-like cells after eight-to-ten days of chemical treatment.The small molecule induced neurons could survive for more than five months in cell culture, where they formed functional synaptic networks. When injected in the brains of living mice,the reprogrammed human neurons were integrated into the neural circuits and survived there for at least one month.
The new technology opens the door to the future development of drugs that patients with brain disorders could take as pills to regenerate neurons!
Find the paper on Cell Stem Cell http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/abstract/S1934-5909(15)00419-1
This work has been highlighted by Nature : http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v526/n7575/full/526613b.html