Purpose of Review
This review details the discoveries that have propelled forward treatment for MMC, from medical management to postnatal surgical repair to open fetal surgery, paving the way for novel scientific research on non-invasive therapeutic approaches.
Current investigations to treat MMC in less invasive ways and earlier in gestation include intra-amniotic particle injections, scaffold-based tissue engineering, and cell-based therapy. The common goal of each experimental approach is protecting the exposed spinal cord prior to its damage—to avoid the devastating clinical manifestations associated with the disease.
Significant discoveries in translational science are underway. Promising research utilizing fetal stem cells, tissue engineering, and non-invasive particle delivery could form the basis for a new approach to MMC or could augment current therapy to better patient outcomes.
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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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Conflict of Interest
The authors have grant funding through The Hartwell Foundation and have a licensed patent (YU6717/7223/7404 PCT) for particle based fetal therapy for myelomeningocele.
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All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).
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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Prenatal Therapies
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Freedman-Weiss, M.R., Stitelman, D.H. Minimally Invasive Fetal Therapy for Myelomeningocele. Curr Stem Cell Rep 6, 1–5 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40778-020-00167-1
- Fetal surgery
- Cell-based therapy
- Tissue engineering