27 March 2017

Stem cells and neurodegenerative diseases (8)

Final comments

Ending. The beginning of the article is here.

The above discussion contains up-to-date information on the wide applicability of stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells in the field of neurodegeneration. Modeling of diseases, transplantation therapy, restoration of brain functions lost as a result of injury or aging, as well as regenerative therapeutic approaches are examples of areas in which stem cells are actively used. The article describes the achievements, especially those made over the past 5 years, since it is not possible to consider all aspects of the use of stem cells in neurodegenerative medicine within the framework of this article. Human stem cells and iPSCs obtained from the patient's cells helped to overcome the main limitations associated with the use of animal models, providing an opportunity to understand in more detail the mechanisms of the development of neurodegenerative diseases. iPSCs obtained from patient cells are the best model for studying the pathophysiology and mechanisms of the disease, since they have the patient's genotype, carry disease-causing mutations and respond appropriately to environmental factors. Stem cells are also used as simplistic in vitro tools for drug screening. Studies on three-dimensional systems of their stem cells and cellular organoids have allowed us to get even closer to reproducing the microenvironment of a living organism. Technological advances and effective imaging techniques have radically changed the concept of research on three-dimensional stem cell cultures and organoids. Pharmacological interventions using natural agents such as curcumin have demonstrated neuroprotective efficacy in clinical and experimental models of neurotoxicity and may provide positive effects in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in the future. However, currently common pharmacological treatments provide symptomatic relief only for a limited period of time and may cause side effects. The arrival of stem cell therapy laid the foundation stone for a possible therapeutic approach that provides a cure with minimal risk of side effects. Personalized treatment using iPSC is already available to modern medicine and researchers continue to work on reducing the cost and increasing the effectiveness of the approach. Animal studies cannot be completely avoided, and transplant therapy methods need validation. However, the use of cells of human origin for preliminary modeling of the disease and therapeutic screening will reduce the cost of money, resources, time and even the lives of animals. It would not be an exaggeration to say that with the competent and prudent use of stem cells and iPSCs, fewer animals will be sacrificed, and the number of failures of clinical trials will decrease. This will reduce not only the moral, but also the economic burden. The authors hope that future research will lead to the development of effective therapies for fatal neurodegenerative diseases, and before that, their effective management and treatment will ensure a longer and healthier life for the aging population.


Figure 3. Schematic representation of possible therapeutic strategies to combat the most common neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases are progressive in nature, limiting the clinical use of pharmacological drugs that provide only symptomatic relief. Stem cell therapy and iPSC technology can provide relief to patients with neurodegenerative diseases by repairing damage to the nervous tissue and renewing it, as well as form the basis of approaches that provide a cure.

For the list of sources used, see the original article.

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