But that’s exactly what some scientists are doing! Instead of using embryonic stem cells, which can have a serious side-effect, such as developing tumours when transplanted, it seems that your bog-standard (‘scuse the pun!) cells found in urine can be relatively easily persuaded into neural progenitor cells – the precursor of neurons.
We’ve become used to the idea of stem cells being deliberately cultured to create useful cells that can be used in the body, but apparently a much more readily available source of the requisite cells can be found in urine.
What’s more, the process takes half the time and appears to avoid the risk of developing tumours. Of course, the idea is that these very special cells can be easily collected from the same patient who is to benefit from them.
So, a promising start then!
How many of us wouldn’t mind an extra brain cell or two?
But unless you know what you’re doing, for goodness sake, don’t try this at home!