NEURAL STEM CELLS

 

Damaged central nervous system (CNS) tissue has very limited regenerative and repair capacity, meaning that loss of neurological function is often chronic and progressive.

The burden of neurological disease is tremendous.  In the U.S. alone, an estimated 780,000 people experience a new stroke each year, 5 million people suffer from Parkinson’s disease and another 24 million people have one of approximately 5,000 other neurological disorders.  In addition, over 80% of the nearly 7,000 rare diseases are neurological.

Neural stem cells have the capacity to generate new cells and are being actively   pursued for their potential to provide therapeutic options for multiple diseases and repair damage caused by brain and spinal cord injury.


Neural stem cells in the brain give rise to its three major cell types:

    • Neurons (nerve cells)
    • Astrocytes (star-shaped cells that regulate the transmission of impulses in the brain)
    • Oligodendrocytes (cells that form myelin, a protective sheath around axons in the central nervous system)

Neural stem cells have the potential to provide therapies for:

    • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Brain injury
    • Huntington’s disease
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Stroke
    • Myelin regeneration (for demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis and leukodystrophy)