An Irish scientist has developed a new way to grow human brain cells which may help in the development of treating and understanding Alzheimer’s.

Dr Rick Livesey, who was born in Cork, led the research team at the Gurdon Institute at University of Cambridge in the UK. As part of the project, scientists were able to create brain cells from a small sample of human skin.

Dr Livesey said the new technique could help scientists understand the complexity of Alzheimer's.

“This approach gives us the ability to study human brain development and disease in ways that were unimaginable even five years ago,” he said.

“We are using this system to recreate Alzheimer’s disease in the lab.

“It’s a disease that primarily affects the type of nerve cell we’ve made in the lab, so we’ve the perfect tool to create a full, human model of the disease in the lab,” Dr Livesey added.

The researchers’ findings were funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Welcome Trust and published in Nature Neuroscience.

Irish doctor at forefront of Alzheimer's research