Researchers looking for ways to regenerate nerves can have a hard time obtaining key tools of their trade.
Schwann cells are an example. They form sheaths around axons, the tail-like parts of nerve cells that carry electrical impulses. They promote regeneration of those axons. And they secrete substances that promote the health of nerve cells.
In other words, they’re very useful to researchers hoping to regenerate nerve cells, specifically peripheral nerve cells, those cells outside the brain and spinal cord.
But Schwann cells are hard to come by in useful numbers.
So researchers have been taking readily available and noncontroversial mesenchymal stem cells
Abundant precursor cells can become many types of neurons without introducing tumor risk
In a paper published in the April 25 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and colleagues report a game-changing advance in stem cell science: the creation of long-term, self-renewing, primitive neural precursor cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) that can be directed to become many types of neuron without increased risk of tumor formation.
“It’s a big step forward,” said Kang Zhang, MD, PhD,
Advancements in stem cell research may one day help surgeons provide treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a deadly neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective death of motor neurons.
CD133+ stem cells are known to have the capacity to differentiate into neural lineages and may provide an alternative treatment for patients suffering from ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
According to Newswise, Linda Kelley, Ph.D., director of the University of Utah’s Cell Therapy Facility, James Campanelli, Ph.D., of University of Utah spin-out Q Therapeutics, Inc., and Utah native Nicholas Maragakis, M.D., of The Johns Hopkins University
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the start of a mid-stage clinical trial of an adult stem cell treatment for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) according to its developer, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. The Phase II clinical trial will be launched initially at UMass Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
BrainStorm, an Israel-based biotech company developing stem cell technology to provide treatments for currently incurable neurodegenerative diseases, has been working with Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research and chair and professor of neurology, to
What is a neural stem cell? How can they help treat neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, ALS (Lou Gehrig‘s Disease)? Evan Snyder of the Burnham Institute helps define neural stem cells (NSC), explaining that they are relatively inaccessible in the adult patient, but that they seem to benefit from some immunotolerance.
It follows that we may be able to use readily available lines of embryonic stem cells for therapy in neurodegenerative disease. Evan reviews current clinical applications for neural stem cells (including as a vehicle for small molecule delivery), and gives his