Modifying Stem Cells Improves Their Therapeutic Effects

Stem cells have provided scientists with a promising area for exploring other means of treating a variety of diseases. Various studies suggest that stem cells may offer some therapeutic effects on certain chronic neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis. Recent studies show that use of isolated stem cells from the brains of adult mice may provide modest therapeutic effects on people afflicted with MS.

A team if scientists from the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have taken it a step further. Guang-Xian Zhang and fellow researchers have found a way to further enhance the therapeutic effects of adult neural stem cells or aNSC’s in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.

The scientists from Thomas Jefferson University have developed an approach through the use of genetically engineered aNSC’s to express an anti-inflammatory molecule known as IL-10. In doing so, the scientists found that the cells provided more extensive functional and pathological recovery from an ongoing disease in a mice model of MS as compared to using non-engineered aNSC’s. The effects were seen in various areas such as suppressing immune attacks of nerve cells, promoting repair of nerve cells and promoting the production of the protective sheath on nerve cells.

Source:  Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Modifying Neural Stem Cells Improves Their Therapeutic Efficacy." ScienceDaily 28 December 2009. 29 December 2009