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Ann Neurol. 2011 Sep;70(3):353-61. doi: 10.1002/ana.22487.

Stem cell technology for neurodegenerative diseases.

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Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200, USA.


Over the past 20 years, stem cell technologies have become an increasingly attractive option to investigate and treat neurodegenerative diseases. In the current review, we discuss the process of extending basic stem cell research into translational therapies for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. We begin with a discussion of the burden of these diseases on society, emphasizing the need for increased attention toward advancing stem cell therapies. We then explain the various types of stem cells utilized in neurodegenerative disease research, and outline important issues to consider in the transition of stem cell therapy from bench to bedside. Finally, we detail the current progress regarding the applications of stem cell therapies to specific neurodegenerative diseases, focusing on Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, Alzheimer disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and spinal muscular atrophy. With a greater understanding of the capacity of stem cell technologies, there is growing public hope that stem cell therapies will continue to progress into realistic and efficacious treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

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