Towards Clinical Application of Stem Cells in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Stem cells have the capacity to generate neurons and glia cells which are lost in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke. The adult brain’s own neural stem cells are potential novel therapeutic targets because they produce neurons and glia in response to injury and could become affected by the degenerative process. Besides cell replacement, stem cell-based approaches can also improve function by modulating inflammation, preventing neurons from dying, and increasing angiogenesis. These exciting laboratory findings should now be responsibly translated to the clinic. However, the development of stem cell-based therapies for human neurodegenerative diseases will require major research efforts so that the mechanisms regulating the proliferation, migration, differentiation, survival and function of stem cells are much better understood and can be effectively controlled. Strategies to prevent tumor formation must be developed. Finally, the functional efficacy of stem cells or their derivatives, their mechanisms of action, and absence of significant adverse effects should be demonstrated in animal models with pathology and symptomatology resembling the human disease.
KeywordsParkinson’s disease Alzheimer’s disease Stroke Neurogenesis Transplantation
Our own work was supported by the Swedish Research Council, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and EU projects LSHB-2006-037526 (StemStroke), and 222943 (Neurostemcell).
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