Adult Stem Cell Therapy for TBI Still on the Horizon
In the Jan.-Feb 2009 issue of Disease Models & Mechanisms Dr. Peter A. Walker and colleagues summarized what we know so far about the use of progenitor cell therapies for traumatic brain injury. Due to evidence in rats that transplanation of embryonic stem cells grow tumors in the post-TBI brain and strict limits on the use of such cells, researchers have focused on adult stem cells. These cells congregate in certain areas of the adult human body, especially the bone marrow, the subventricular zone of the brain, the umbilicial cord and adipose (fat) tissue. There is preliminary evidence at this time that infusion of pluripotent adult stem cells into the brain post-TBI can protect damaged cells by supplying intact genetic material, producing neurotrophic growth factors, and by reducing inflammation.
Much more clinical experimentation needs to be done, but researchers are hopeful that one day adult stem cells will become part of the acute treatment for TBI. Right now there is little physicians can due in the acute stage except monitor intracranial pressure; reduce IC pressure with drugs, shunts or both; and increase cerebral blood perfusion with drugs.