Nervous System Diseases

Reinventing painkillers

November 5, 2018

Clifford Woolf wants to reboot drug discovery to find a new way to treat pain: effectively and responsibly.

  • Woolf’s goal is to stop the opioid crisis by rejecting the conventional approach to drug discovery and developing painkillers that do not harm people or communities. 
  • He is using stem cells to create models of pain, outside the body and in a dish, that can be used to screen for drugs swiftly and on a large scale.
  • The new approach requires ‘all hands’: expertise, equipment, and collaboration in stem...
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Time for a new definition

November 18, 2015

Researchers uncover diverse subtypes of serotonin-producing neurons

By Stephanie Dutchen, HMS Writer/Editor

It used to be enough to call a serotonergic neuron a serotonergic neuron.

These brain cells make the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps regulate mood, appetite, breathing rate, body temperature and more.

Recently, however, scientists have begun to learn that these neurons differ from one another—and that the differences likely matter in dysfunction and disease.

...

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Neurons reprogrammed in animals

November 4, 2015

Building on earlier work in which they disproved neurobiology dogma by “reprogramming” neurons — turning one form of neuron into another — in the brains of living animals, Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers have now shown that the networks of communication among reprogrammed neurons and their neighbors can also be changed, or “rewired.”

The finding, by Paola Arlotta, a professor of...

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Pain in a dish

November 24, 2014

Turning skin cells into pain-sensing neurons


Human noxious stimulus detecting sensory neurons produced by converting skin cells with a set of five genes to this new fate—enabling study of "pain"in a dish. (Credit: Elizabeth Buttermore, PhD)

After more than...

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