Posted on Aug 08, 2018, 4 p.m.
Researchers from the University of California have successfully created spinal cord neural stem cells from human pluripotent stems cells that differentiated into diverse populations of cells capable of dispersing throughout the spinal cord which can be maintained for long periods of time, as published in Nature Methods.
The newly created stem cells can advance basic research such as biomedical applications of in vitro disease modeling and may constitute improved clinically translatable cell source replacement strategies for spinal cord injuries and disorders in the future.
There has been much work done in exploring potential use of human pluripotent stems cells to create new spinal cord cells that are needed to repair damaged and/or diseased spinal cords with progress being slow and steady but limited, this study has created a cell line appearing to significantly advance the cause.
Researchers noted grafts were observed to be rich in excitatory neurons, extended large numbers of axons over great distances, innervated target structures and enabled robust corticospinal regeneration, supporting functional recovery when grafting human pluripotent stem cells derived spinal cord neural stem cells into injured spinal cords of rat models.
Researchers said more work is needed to be conducted on these newly generated cells to constitute source cells for advancement to clinical human trials within a time frame of 3-5 years, and determine if the cells are safe over long time periods in animal and nonhuman primate studies and replicate efficacy.
Findings show potential benefits beyond spinal cord injury therapies since spinal cord neural stem cells can be used in modeling and drug screening for disorders that involve spinal cord dysfunction such as progressive muscular atrophy, hereditary spastic paraplegia, spinocerebellar ataxia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis groups of genetic disorders typically characterized by progressive discoordination of eye, gait, and hand movement, according to the researchers.
Materials provided by University of California - San Diego.
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Hiromi Kumamaru, Ken Kadoya, Andrew F. Adler, Yoshio Takashima, Lori Graham, Giovanni Coppola, Mark H. Tuszynski. Generation and post-injury integration of human spinal cord neural stem cells. Nature Methods, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41592-018-0074-3