Dr. Chandran is currently serving as the Director of Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the Euan MacDonald Centre and Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh.
35 million people worldwide suffer from degenerative neurological disorders costing an average of 700 billion dollars annually, yet there is still not a recognized effective treatment for most conditions.
Stem cells in the brain are able to renew mylein sheath which is laid over damaged nerve cells allowing for an improvement in signaling.
Dr. Chandran collaborated with researchers from the US and London and simulated treating a patient with a motor neuron disease by taking cells from a genetically similar individual and reprogramming the cells to generate live motor nerve cells that could then be injected into a patient. They then compared the new live motor neuron cells to the damaged cells and found that the damaged cells were 2.5 times more likely to die.
A study was conducted using patient with multiple sclerosis to determine whether cells taken from bone marrow would be protective of nerve cells if transplanted. The researchers focused on the optic nerve to see if their results were successful. The optic nerve was measured 3 times (12 months, six months, and before the transfusion). The data before the transfusion graphically shows the decline in size of the optic nerve. After the transfusion, the patient’s optic nerve was scanned twice, at 3 months and 12 months. The data after the transfusion reflects an effective increase in the size of the optic nerve suggesting that the stem cells were able to adequately protect the nerve cells from dying.
Dr. Chandran believes that the stem cells do not protect the nerve cells, instead they promote the body to regenerate more myelin sheath.