Tiny scaffold may transplant stem cells to treat Alzheimer’s

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A tiny, biodegradable scaffold may offer a way to transplant stem cells and deliver drugs, which could help treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, aging brain degeneration, and spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

Low cell survival rates, incomplete differentiation of cells, and limited growth of neural connections have hampered stem cell transplantation, which shows promise as a treatment for central nervous system diseases.

So, scientists designed bio-scaffolds that mimic natural tissue and got good results in test tubes and mice, according to a new study, which appears in Nature Communications.

These nano-size scaffolds hold promise for advanced stem cell transplantation and neural tissue engineering. Stem cell therapy leads to stem cells becoming neurons and can restore neural circuits.

“It’s been a major challenge to develop a reliable therapeutic method for treating central nervous system diseases and injuries,” says senior author KiBum Lee, a professor in the chemistry and chemical biology department at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Our enhanced stem cell transplantation approach is an innovative potential solution.”

The researchers, in cooperation with neuroscientists and clinicians, plan to test the nano-scaffolds in larger animals and eventually move to clinical trials for treating spinal cord injury. The scaffold-based technology also shows promise for regenerative medicine.

Source: Rutgers University