Stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis: preclinical evidence beyond all doubt?

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Abstract

Stem cell transplantation holds great promise for restoration of neural function in various neurodegenerative disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS). However, many questions remain regarding the true efficacy and precise mode of action of stem cell-based therapeutic approaches. Therefore, in this article, we will first discuss the ideal route and/or timing of stem cell-based therapies for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the most used preclinical animal model for MS. Next, we will provide an overview of the proposed mechanisms that contribute to the beneficial effects of stem cell transplantation observed during the treatment of rodent EAE. Reviews of current and past literature clearly demonstrate conceptual changes in the development of stem cell-based approaches for EAE/MS, leading to the identification of several major challenges to be tackled before (stem) cell therapy for rodent EAE can be safely and successfully translated to human therapy for MS.

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