Stop flushing those brain cells!

Stem cells are so five years ago.  Now scientists have developed a way to turn the cells in urine into neural progenitor cells!

Some of the waste that humans flush away every day could become a powerful source of brain cells to study disease, and may even one day be used in therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Scientists have found a relatively straightforward way to persuade the cells discarded in human urine to turn into valuable neurons.

The technique, described online in a study in Nature Methods this week1, does not involve embryonic stem cells. These come with serious drawbacks when transplanted, such as the risk of developing tumours. Instead, the method uses ordinary cells present in urine, and transforms them into neural progenitor cells — the precursors of brain cells. These precursor cells could help researchers to produce cells tailored to individuals more quickly and from more patients than current methods.

This way, when the police arrest me for peeing on Bill O’Reilly and Bill Donahue, I can say that I was only trying to help them.

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