Presentation on theme: "Louis Carney III BME 281 October 8 th, 2013. About 300,000 Americans a year suffer damage to peripheral and central nerves. Nerves damaged in the."— Presentation transcript:
About 300,000 Americans a year suffer damage to peripheral and central nerves. Nerves damaged in the PNS are sometimes able to regenerate on their own, however nerves in the CNS can not. Years ago it was believed that depending on the severity of the injury to the nerves, there would be no hope in regenerating them. Recently there has been a lot of funding into possible ways to regenerate these nerves.
Stem cells have become one possible solution to nerve damage. These cells are able to differentiate into myelinating cells and support the re-growth of nerve fiber. Stem cells are believed to have the ability to generate almost any cells found within the brain and spinal cord including neurons and neural- support cells. There are many different types of stem cells that are believed to have this capability.
Shwann Cells -peripheral glial cells that form the myelin of the PNS Embryonic Stem Cells- cells obtained from embryos Bone Marrow Stromal Cells- multipotential stem cells that can be differentiated based on environmental conditions Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Cells- cells that promote tissue repair
Stem cells are cultivated and placed in culture dishes. These cells will begin to multiply and spread across the surface of the culture dish. After a few days the cells begin to overcrowd the dish and are transferred to new dishes. This process, known as sub culturing, is done many times over a six month period of time. Following sub culturing, what originally started as 30 cells may expand into millions of cells. The cells are then frozen and stored for testing. In theory, these cells may then be injected into patients with nerve damage and used to regenerate the nerve itself.
Researchers at John Hopkins University tested the effectiveness of stem cells regenerating nerves in rats. Stem cells that were previously cultivated were taken and injected into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord of paralyzed rats. 3 months after the procedure took place, almost all of the tested rats were regaining use in their hind limbs and were slowly beginning to walk again. Scientists also discovered that the injected cells continued to travel throughout the spinal fluid and develop It should be noted that this was a preliminary experiment and it is not known if these results would hold true in human testing.
There are many ethical concerns involving stem cell use and cultivation. It is estimated that once available to the general public, the cost for stem cell therapy could be between $200k-$400k. The procedure is not guaranteed to work due to the complexity of the CNS. It is believed that patients must be treated within two weeks of sustaining damage to the nerves in order for this to work.
Hopefully with the use of stem cells, patients suffering from nerve damage and paralysis may one day regain some of the functions lost. There has recently been a large amount of funding and research into stem cell use in order to try and help suffering patients. Research into adult stem cells is becoming more common in the hopes to avoid ethical concerns involving embryonic stem cells. Scientists hope that one day stem cells may be used to cure other medical conditions including Parkinson's disease. It is not known whether or not this procedure for curing nerve damage will ever actually be implemented in humans.