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Stem Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury

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Spinal cord injury (SCI) damages axons and disrupts myelination interrupting sensory and motor neuronal transmission to and from the brain. Patients suffering from SCI although continue to survive, are often left chronically disabled and with no promise of a cure. Advances in stem cell biology has opened up doors for the use of human embryonic, adult neural and induced pluripotent stem cell strategies for SCI. Despite great promise from animal research, clinical trials have been limited and the jury is still out on its safety and efficacy. This review discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the various stem cell types, barriers hindering translation from animal to humans, and the need for established guidelines for standardization of clinical trials ensuring subsequent implementation. Ultimately, unrealistic expectations of stem cell therapy (SCT) as the elixir for SCI should be managed. The success of SCT for SCI lies in the network of research scientists, medical professionals and patients working cooperatively to build up a knowledge-intensive platform for a comprehensive risk-benefit assessment of SCT for SCI.

Keywords: Adult stem cells; Allodynia; Bromodeoxy-Uridine; Bromodeoxyuridine; Epidermal growth factor (EGF); Gadolinium-diethylene triamine peta-acetic acid (Gd-DPTA); Glial-derived nerotrophic factor; Neurotrophin-3; Peripheral nerve graft; Schwann cells; Spinal cord injury (SCI); Sry-related HMG box 2; Subgranular zone; Subventricular zone; Tumourigenicity; Von Hippel-Lindau protein; aminopyridine; astrocytosis; blastomeres; blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB); cerulospinal axons; chondroitinase ABC; ciliary neurotrophic factor; corticosteroids; diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); embryonic stem cells; embryonic stem cells (ESCs); ependyma; excitotoxicity; fibroblast growth factor-2; fibroblasts; hippocampal; hodgepodge; iPS cells; induced pluripotent stem cells; insulin growth factor-1; mesenchymal; mesenchymal stem cells; mesylate; metalloproteinases; methylprednisolone; motor neurons; myelination; naloxone; neurogenesis; neuroprotective agents; neurotrophins; noxious stimuli; olfactory ensheathing cell (OECs); oligodendrocyte; oligodendrocytes; pluripotent cells; pluripotent stem cell; spasticity; spinal cord; spinal cord injury; stem cell therapy; stem cell therapy (SCT); superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO); synergistic effects; teratoma; tirilazad; tizanidine; tumour necrosis; umbilical cord blood (UCB); vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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