Stem Cell Therapies for Reversing Vision Loss.
Trends Biotechnol. 2017 Jul 24. pii: S0167-7799(17)30165-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2017.06.016 Authors: Higuchi A, Kumar SS, Benelli G, Alarfaj AA, Munusamy MA, Umezawa A, Murugan K.
Current clinical trials that evaluate human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-based therapies predominantly target treating macular degeneration of the eyes because the eye is an isolated tissue that is naturally weakly immunogenic. Here, we discuss current bioengineering approaches and biomaterial usage in combination with stem cell therapy for macular degeneration disease treatment. Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) differentiated from hPSCs is typically used in most clinical trials for treating patients, whereas bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMNCs) or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are intravitreally transplanted, undifferentiated, into patient eyes. We also discuss reported negative effects of stem cell therapy, such as patients becoming blind following transplantation of adipose-derived stem cells, which are increasingly used by 'stem-cell clinics'.
Complex circuitry and limited regenerative power make central nervous system (CNS) disorders the most challenging and difficult for functional repair. With elusive disease mechanisms, traditional surgical and medical interventions merely slow down the progression of the neurodegenerative diseases. However, the number of neurons still diminishes in many patients. Recently, stem cell therapy has been proposed as a viable option. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a widely-studied human adult stem cell population, have been discovered for more than 20 years. MSCs have been found all over the body and can be conveniently obtained from different accessible tissues: bone marrow, blood, and adipose and dental tissue. MSCs have high proliferative and differentiation abilities, providing an inexhaustible source of neurons and glia for cell replacement therapy. Moreover, MSCs also show neuroprotective effects without any genetic modification or reprogramming. In addition, the extraordinary immunomodulatory properties of MSCs enable autologous and heterologous transplantation. These qualities heighten the clinical applicability of MSCs when dealing with the pathologies of CNS disorders. Here, we summarize the latest progress of MSC experimental research as well as human clinical trials for neural and retinal diseases. This review article will focus on multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, autism, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.