Neural stem cells have the capability to transform into glial cells or neurons. Oligodendrocytes and astrocytes are examples of glial cells.
What are Neural Cells and Why are they Important?
Different areas of the human body, spinal cord and brain house different types of specialized stem cells. In haematology for example, cord blood derived stem cells transplants have been used for decades for their abilty to replenish white blood cells and bone marrow for patients with a wide variety of blood disorders due to cancer. Similarly, neurogenerative conditions require special types of cells known as neural stem cells.
Neural Stem cells or “NSC” are considered immature cells and develop for the Central Nervous System (CNS). Neural cells are defined by 3 characteristics
- Self-renewal potential
- Neural tripotency (ability to produce major neural lineages: astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes)
- Ability for in vivo regeneration (post transplant)
NSC cells have the potential to create both glia and neurons for human brains buy have limited regenerative capacity in a mature adult brain. For adults, neural cells reside in region called “neurogenic niches”. Their job is to retain multipotency and also to regulate balance between fate-committed asymmetric divisions and symmetrical self-renewal. After decades of research, new protocols have been developed to use cultured neural cells to treat several diseases of the brain. From early onset such as Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy to late onset neurodegenerative diseases like Motor Neuron Disease, ALS and Parkinson’s disease (PD), cell manipulation technology has enabled the Regen Centre to isolate and expand human neural stem cells for use in therapies
We are not currently at the stage where we can cure any/all neurodegenerative diseases so the goal of our NSC treatments is to first stop the progress of the disease and then replace and/or repair diseased or necrotic (dead) cells. Unlike other stem cell technologies that try to use just hematopoietic mesenchymal cells for brain injuries our treatment protocols used transplanted neural cells, neural progenitor cells and neural cell specific growth factors to ensure that any new transplanted cells survive after transplants and are able to integrate into the patients tissue. Any implanted cells for brain injuries or strokes must not only “look like neutrons” but must also have vital properties that allow them to function as neurons. The cells used must be able to release neurotransmitters, be electrically excitable and create new circuitry / neural structures for complex brain processes and neural synapses.
Currently, conventional pharmacological based treatments for neurodegenerative diseases can help relieve some of the patients symptoms but usually do not alter the course of the underlying disease nor halt its progression.