Rutgers scientists have created a small biodegradable skeleton to transplant stem cells and deliver drugs that can help treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, degeneration of aging brain, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injury .
Stem cell transplantation, which appears promising as a treatment for central nervous system disorders, was hampered by low cell survival rates, incomplete differentiation of cells and limited growth of neural connections.
So Rutgers scientists designed bio-scaffolds that mimic natural tissue and achieved good results in test tubes and mice, according to a study in Nature Communications. These nano-size scaffolds hold promise for advanced stem cell transplantation and neural tissue engineering. Stem cell therapy causes stem cells to become neurons and restore neural circuits.
"It was a big challenge to develop a reliable therapeutic method for treating diseases and lesions of the central nervous system," said senior author KiBum Lee, a professor in chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick . "Our improved stem cell transplantation approach is an innovative potential solution."
The researchers, in collaboration with neuroscientists and clinicians, plan to test the nano-scaffolds in larger animals and eventually switch to clinical trials for the treatment of spinal cord injury. The scaffolding-based technology is also promising for regenerative medicine.