02. tbl. 94. árg. 2008


The application of stem cells for research and treatment of neurological disorders

Notkun stofnfrumna til rannsókna og lækninga á taugasjúkdómum

It has long been a common view that neurons in the human central nervous system were not capable of self renewal. But in the mid 1990s scientists discovered that certain areas of the human brain do have the ability generate new neurons, at least under certain circumstances. It was subsecuently confirmed that the human central nervous system contains stem cells similar to the cells which originally give rise to the central nervous sysem during fetal development.

The possible use of stem cells in the treatment of various neurological disorders, holds great promise. However, much research needs to be carried out before stem cell therapy can be moved from the bench to the bedside. Now researchers are pursuing two fundamental strategies to exploit the possible application of stem cells. One is to cultivate stem cells in vitro and to design the right differentiation profile of cells suitable for implantation. The other strategy relies on studying endogenous signals that could stimulate the patient´s own stem cells and repair mechanisms.

Here we give an overview of neural stem cells and their possible future use in the treatment of neural diseases such as Parkinson´s disease, Motor Neuron Disease and Spinal cord injury.

Correspondence: Ólafur Á Sveinsson

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