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Neural Transplantation in Huntington's Disease: The NEST-UK Donor Tissue Microbiological Screening Program and Review of the Literature1

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Neural transplantation of human fetal tissue for Huntington's disease (HD) is now entering the clinical arena. The safety of the procedure has now been demonstrated in a number of studies, although the efficacy of such an approach is still being investigated. Stringent but practicable screening of the donor tissue for potential pathogens is an essential prerequisite for successful implementation of any novel transplant program that uses human fetal tissue. In this article we summarize the UK-NEST protocol for the screening of human fetal tissue being grafted to patients with mild to moderate HD. We describe the results of microbiological screening of 87 potential tissue donors in a pilot study, and of the first four donor–recipient patients included in the UK-NEST series. The rationale for the adoption and interpretation of the various tests is described and our methodology is compared with those previously used by other centers. This article therefore presents a comprehensive, logical yet pragmatic screening program that could be employed in any clinical studies that use human fetal tissue for neurotransplantation.

Keywords: Brain tissue transplantation; Fetal tissue transplantation; Huntington's disease; Microbiological techniques; Tissue transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Clinical Microbiology and Public Health Laboratory, Health Protection Agency & Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK 2: Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK 3: School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK 4: Department of Neurology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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