21st Congress of the European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis
10th Annual Meeting of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis

28.09.2005 - 01.10.2005
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Home - 01.10.2005 - Regeneration, repair and stem cell therapy for MS

Regeneration, repair and stem cell therapy for MS

Saturday, October 01, 2005, 08:30 - 08:50

Neural stem cells in multiple sclerosis: where we are, where we go

G. Martino (Milan, I)

Spontaneous neural tissue repair occurs in patients affected by inflammatory and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). However, this process is not robust enough to promote a functional and stable recovery of the CNS architecture. The development of cell-based therapies aimed at promoting brain repair, trough damaged cell-replacement, is therefore foreseen. Several experimental cell-based strategies aimed at replacing damaged neural cells have been developed in the last 30 years. Although successful in promoting site-specific repair in focal CNS disorders, most of these therapeutic approaches have failed to foster repair in multifocal CNS diseases where the anatomical and functional damage is widespread. (Neural) stem cell-based therapies have been recently proposed and might represent in the near future a plausible alternative strategy in these disorders. However, before envisaging any human applications of stem cell-based therapies in neurological diseases we need to confront with some preliminary and still unsolved questions: (i) the ideal stem cell source for transplantation, (ii) the most appropriate route of stem cell administration, and, last but not least, (iii) the best approach to achieve an appropriate, functional and long-lasting integration of transplanted stem cells into the host tissue.