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Regen Med. 2008 Nov;3(6):893-905. doi: 10.2217/17460751.3.6.893.

Potential of adult neural stem cells in stroke therapy.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, R211, Stanford, CA 94305-5327, USA.


Despite state-of-the-art therapy, clinical outcome after stroke remains poor, with many patients left permanently disabled and dependent on care. Stem cell therapy has evolved as a promising new therapeutic avenue for the treatment of stroke in experimental studies, and recent clinical trials have proven its feasibility and safety in patients. Replacement of damaged cells and restoration of function can be accomplished by transplantation of different cell types, such as embryonic, fetal or adult stem cells, human fetal tissue and genetically engineered cell lines. Adult neural stem cells offer the advantage of avoiding the ethical problems associated with embryonic or fetal stem cells and can be harvested as autologous grafts from the individual patients. Furthermore, stimulation of endogenous adult stem cell-mediated repair mechanisms in the brain might offer new avenues for stroke therapy without the necessity of transplantation. However, important scientific issues need to be addressed to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the critical steps in cell-based repair to allow the introduction of these experimental techniques into clinical practice. This review describes up-to-date experimental concepts using adult neural stem cells for the treatment of stroke.

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