Indications and prospects of neural transplantation for chronic neurological diseases

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Purpose of reviewThe replacement of damaged cells in the central nervous system (CNS) affected by degenerative disorders represents an attractive therapeutic strategy. The advent of stem cell technology may offer the possibility of generating a large number of renewable, specifically differentiated cells to potentially cure large cohorts of patients. In this review, we discuss current knowledge and issues involved in neural cell transplantation. The most important preclinical and clinical results of cellular transplantation applied to Parkinson's, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis will be summarized.Recent findingsCellular transplantation is emerging as a possible therapy for a variety of incurable neurological disorders. The disorders that will primarily take advantage from neural stem cell grafting are those involving a well defined cell population in a restricted area of the CNS. Several clinical trials have been initiated to assess safety and efficacy of different stem cell-derived products, and promising results have been obtained for disorders such as Parkinson's disease. However, several scientific questions remain unanswered. Among these, the impact of the immunological interaction between host and graft in the particular environment of the CNS still requires additional investigations.SummarySeveral chronic neurological disorders appear to be amenable to cell regenerative therapies. However, safety, efficacy and immunological issues will need to be carefully evaluated beforehand.

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