Sunday, March 18, 2018
Stem Cell Therapy
The Potential of stem cells in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global public health concern, with limited treatment options available. In the U.S alone, between 3.2 -5.3 million people suffer long-term cognitive impairment as a result of TBI. When an individual has sustained a heavy blow to the head it could lead to long-term deficits involving sensory-motor and memory functions. However, the brain harbors neural stem cells that it uses to self-repair itself after damages have been sustained. Unfortunately, these neural stem cells are limited and if the impact to the head was strong it would result in a chronic injury. Therefore the brain would not be able to have a full recovery which would result in future health problems for an individual. As of today, many scientists have begun working with stem cells in hopes of finding a treatment for TBI.
Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent stem cells have acquired a lot of population due to there plasticity and ability to differentiate into any lineage in the nervous central system. Embryonic stem cells (ES) are obtained from fetal or embryonic brains and are strongly considered for neural transplantation because when implanted into a recipients brain these cells can differentiate, migrate, and make innervation to aid the damaged brain to recover. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are obtained from patients themselves and have the potential for autologous transplantation and avoiding ethical and graft rejection concerns. Induced pluripotent stem cells have allowed scientists to explore manipulating this highly plastic population. These somatic cell-derived iPSCs can provide large quantities of pluripotent cells that have high plasticity generating cells for all three germ layers including neurons and glial cells.
These unique properties of Embryonic and Induced pluripotent stem cells have raised hope that many neurological diseases including TBI might be cured or treated.