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FP6

STEMS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 37328
Funded under: FP6-LIFESCIHEALTH
Country: France

Stem cell therapy for stroke

Pilot clinical trials in humans with stroke have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of stem cells (SCs). Leading European scientists evaluated new SC sources and standardised culture and transplantation conditions for future therapeutic applications.
Stem cell therapy for stroke
Regenerative medicine using SCs is an emerging new field with great promise for various diseases. SCs are unique in the respect that they can differentiate into numerous cell types and can also regenerate themselves. The beneficial effect of SC transplantation for stroke has been demonstrated using bone marrow-derived SCs and cell lines.

Before SC therapy becomes standard practice, there are limitations that need to be addressed. Firstly, the conditions that regulate SC proliferation and differentiation to produce region-specific grafts need to be better defined and regulated. Potential changes in the properties of SCs following transplantation need to be understood alongside the mechanisms responsible for functional improvement of stroke.

To look into these issues and further explore and evaluate other SC sources for stroke, the EU funded the project ‘Pre-clinical evaluation of stem cell therapy in stroke’ (STEMS). Project partners – with a strong pre-clinical view – optimised and standardised the culture conditions of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) differentiation into neural progenitors, animal protocols and behavioural analysis methods. The optimal stage of differentiation was defined for subsequent transplantation into an experimental rat model of stroke. Additionally, human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) were tested for their differentiation capacity into the neuronal lineage and compared to ESCs.

The STEMS project aimed at determining the extent and limits of SC therapy in stroke by testing the differentiation capacity and in vivo regenerative potential of ESCs. Study findings will hopefully pave the way for clinical therapeutic trials.

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