Are induced pluripotent stem cells the future of cell-based regenerative therapies for spinal cord injury?

Authors

  • Ryan P.F. Salewski,

    1. Division of Genetics and Development, Toronto Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Eftekhar Eftekharpour,

    1. Division of Genetics and Development, Toronto Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Spinal Program, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Michael G. Fehlings

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Genetics and Development, Toronto Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    3. Spinal Program, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    4. Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Toronto Western Hospital, McLaughlin Pavilion, 12th Floor, Room 407, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8.
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Abstract

Despite advances in medical and surgical care, current clinical therapies for spinal cord injury (SCI) are limited. During the last two decades, the search for new therapies has been revolutionized by the discovery of stem cells, inspiring scientists and clinicians to search for stem cell-based reparative approaches for many disorders, including neurotrauma. Cell-based therapies using embryonic and adult stem cells in animal models of these disorders have provided positive outcome results. However, the availability of clinically suitable cell sources for human application has been hindered by both technical and ethical issues. The recent discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells holds the potential to revolutionize the field of regenerative medicine by offering the option of autologous transplantation, thus eliminating the issue of host rejection. Herein, we will provide the rationale for the use of iPS cells in SCI therapies. In this review, we will evaluate the recent advancements in the field of iPS cells including their capacity for differentiation toward neural lineages that may allow iPS cells transplantation in cell-based therapy for spinal cord repair. J. Cell. Physiol. 222: 515–521, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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