AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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Reprogrammed Stem Cell-Derived Neurons Survive Long-Term in Pigs with Spinal Cord Injuries

Using neuronal cells reprogrammed from genetically identical animals eliminated need for immunosuppression measures

 

A major hurdle to using neural stem cells derived from genetically different donors to replace damaged or destroyed tissues, such as in a spinal cord injury, has been the persistent rejection of the introduced material (cells), necessitating the use of complex drugs and techniques to suppress the host’s immune response.

In a new paper an international team led by scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine describe successfully grafting induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural precursor cells back into the spinal cords of genetically identical adult pigs with no immunosuppression efforts. The grafted cells survived long-term, displayed differentiated functionality and caused no tumors.

The researchers also demonstrated that the same cells showed similar long-term survival in adult pigs with different genetic backgrounds after only short course use of immunosuppressive treatment once injected into injured spinal cord.

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