With no clinical success yet achieved from amyloid-targeting strategies, there is an urgent need to gain new insights and develop effective treatments for people who have dementia. New stem cell-based approaches have generated much excitement in dementia research with the potential to study patient-derived neurons and supporting cells. However the commonly used ‘pluripotent’ stem cells are artificially generated and have major which make them unsuitable as tools to understand the disease process in the majority of late onset (sporadic) cases of dementia.
Olfactory (nasal) tissue contains a unique population of naturally occurring stem cells that renew the nasal receptor neurons and supporting cells in the nose throughout life. These exceptional stem cells can be collected through a routine procedure with local anesthetic and readily grown in a culture dish in a laboratory to produce neurons and other key brain cell-types that accurately reflect the same types of brain cells that occur in the patient of origin. These cells provide a unique tool to study patient-specific disease processes and develop therapeutics for personalized dementia medicine.