that adult human blood cells can be converted into central or peripheral neural cells, giving researchers the opportunity to determine how pain is transmitted and how to treat it.
There are a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to understanding pain and the best ways to treat it. Our nervous system is complex and scientists can’t simply take cell samples from patients for study – the procedure would itself cause discomfort, and isn’t feasible as patients can’t donate their own neural cells for testing. McMaster University’s Mick Bhatia and Karun Singh have come up with the next best thing: a way to convert adult human blood cells to both central nervous system neurons as well as to neurons in the peripheral nervous system. Using this method, obtaining blood samples and converting these into neurons for testing in the lab becomes an easy and painless procedure.
This opens new doors for pain research and ways to treat it with more effective medication.