It has been over two decades since the first human neural cell lines were developed and differentiated into mature neurons. Subsequently, a multitude of neural stem cell lines has been developed and characterized. These stem cells have been derived from fetal tissues, embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells. Many of these neural stem cell lines are being tested clinically to accelerate recovery from stroke, degenerative, and other neurological disorders. Besides, fetal‐derived neural stem cells have shown promise as novel therapeutics in stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease, with no curative therapy currently available. Recent advances in induced pluripotent stem cell technology and gene editing have helped understand disease pathophysiology and have led to the differentiation of Alzheimer’s disease-relevant cell types in cell cultures. This technology holds excellent translational and therapeutic promise for Alzheimer’s disease.
Parkinson's disease is one of the most insidious neurodegenerative disorders with no effective therapy. Recent clinical and translational data demonstrate that human pluripotent stem cells produced from embryonic or adult cells can be differentiated into neural cell lines for transplantation into patients. DOPA-producing neurons derived from human pluripotent stem cells are currently being tested clinically.
Though preliminary, there is evidence from preclinical studies showing mesenchymal stem cells to be effective in preclinical animal models of other neurological diseases such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (model for multiple sclerosis).
Ischemic brain injury or cerebrovascular stroke is a leading cause of death. Despite recent advances in therapy that have been beneficial in limiting disease progression, it is still not possible to reverse the effects of ischemic brain damage. It is in this area that stem cell regenerative therapy holds the most promise. Research
Spinal cord injury leads to irreversible functional loss due to neuronal death and exotic reaction and is associated with grim clinical prognosis. However, recent studies have demonstrated that a variety of stem cells such as induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, and neural progenitor cells/neural stem cells may have potential benefits as a regenerative therapy for spinal cord injury.