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Bone Marrow Stromal Cells for Repair of the Spinal Cord: Towards Clinical Application

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Stem cells have been recognized and intensively studied for their potential use in restorative approaches for degenerative diseases and traumatic injuries. In the central nervous system (CNS), stem cell-based strategies have been proposed to replace lost neurons in degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), or to replace lost oligodendrocytes in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Stem cells have also been implicated in repair of the adult spinal cord. An impact to the spinal cord results in immediate damage to tissue including blood vessels, causing loss of neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. In time, more tissue nearby or away from the injury site is lost due to secondary injury. In case of relatively minor damage to the cord some return of function can be observed, but in most cases the neurological loss is permanent. This review will focus on in vitro and in vivo studies on the use of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), a heterogeneous cell population that includes mesenchymal stem cells, for repair of the spinal cord in experimental injury models and their potential for human application. To optimally benefit from BMSCs for repair of the spinal cord it is imperative to develop in vitro techniques that will generate the desired cell type and/or a large enough number for in vivo transplantation approaches. We will also assess the potential and possible pitfalls for use of BMSCs in humans and ongoing clinical trials.

Keywords: Bone marrow stromal cell (BMSC); Clinical trial; Implantation; Regeneration; Spinal cord injury

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA 2: Department of Neurological Surgery, Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, 6525 GC, The Netherlands

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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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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