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What are stem cells and why they can treat neurological disorders and diseases?

Author Admin Views Posted at 2011/10/21

1. What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are found in most, if not all, multi-cellular organisms. They are characterized by their ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types. 
The mechanisms of how stem cells can treat different kinds of diseases vary, for example, in the treatment of neurological diseases, the stem cells after implantation, have multiple ways of repairing the damaged areas.
Regarding to Neural stem cells,
1) Neural stem cells (NSCs) derived from a spontaneously aborted fetus;
2) NSCs are the self-renewing, multipotent cells that generate the main phenotypes of the nervous system;
3) NSCs have an important role during development producing the enormous diversity of neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the developing Central Neural System;
4) NSCs have been shown to engage in migration and replacement of dying neurons in classical experiments and clinical experience.
Regarding to Mesenchymal stem cells,
1) Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were originally found in the bone marrow, and subsequently discovered in other tissues. 
2) MSCs are capable of generating new tissues, but perhaps more importantly, have been demonstrated to be potent secretors of various growth factors and to modulate the immune system.
3) The stem cell laboratorial and clinical experience support the general hypothesis that the MSCs are acting to “reprogram” the immune system in order to stop the immune attack against the myelin but preserve other components of the immune system and these immunomodulatory mechanisms of course have activity against many types of autoimmune conditions.
2. Why can Neural stem cells treat neurological disorders and diseases?
A lot of refractory neurological disorders and diseases are characterized by neurodegnerative changes or apoptosis of neurons involved in networks, leading to permanent paralysis and loss of sensation below the site of the injury. Cell replacement therapy has provided the basis for the development of potentially powerful new therapeutic strategies for a broad spectrum of human neurological diseases.
During the past two decades years both experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated a remarkable plasticity in the adult mammalian brain. Transplanted neural stem cells can survive and restore neural system function, the progression of the neuronal degeneration can be slowed down or even counteracted and it has also been shown that the capacity to form new neurons from the progenitor cells are preserved in the human brain.
We are trying to develop novel strategies for the treatment of neurological disorders based on cell transplantation and gene therapy with the general aim to repair and protect the neural system.

New genes are administered directly into the neural system or through cell transplantation to counteract insult and induced degeneration of neurons. We implant neural stem cells in order to replace dead neurons and to reconstruct neural pathways and thereby restore function.


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