Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that results in paralysis and ultimately death due to respiratory failure. Transplantation of neural precursor cells (NPCs) derived from the central nervous system is a promising therapeutic strategy for treatment of brain and spinal cord disorders such as ALS. ALS is a particularly challenging disease for designing relevant therapies, and presently no effective treatment exists. Despite such daunting challenges, a number of the potential benefits of NPC transplantation coincide with the neuropathological obstacles associated with ALS, including neuronal and glial replacement and non-replacement functions such as delivery of trophic support. Knowledge of the underlying disease-specific pathways involved in neurodegeneration and the contributions of different cellular subtypes to the disease go hand-in-hand with advances in NPC transplantation biology, and will aid in targeting cell-specific therapies to neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS. It is with these multiple cell targets that NPC transplantation may lend itself well to understanding and possibly slowing disease processes. A number of studies have already demonstrated the potential benefits of cell transplantation in ALS models. Lastly, practical issues such as timing and method of cell delivery, immune suppression, and the need for combinatorial approaches with non-cell based strategies must all be considered for eventual translation to the clinic.
- Motor neuron
- Superoxide dismutase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology