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Stem Cells International
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 369578, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2010/369578
Review Article

Progenitor Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Central Nervous System Injury: A Review of the State of Current Clinical Trials

1Department of Surgery, Medical School at Houston, University of Texas, 6431 Fannin Street, MSB 5.236, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2Department of Pediatric Surgery, Medical School at Houston, University of Texas, 6431 Fannin Street, MSB 5.236, Houston, TX 77030, USA
3Department of General Surgery, Medical School at Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
4Michael E DeBakey Institute for Comparative Cardiovascular Science and Biomedical Devices, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
5Department of Neurology, Medical School at Houston, University of Texas, Houston, TX 77030, USA
6Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Medical School at Houston, University of Texas, Houston, TX 77030, USA

Received 11 May 2010; Accepted 10 June 2010

Academic Editor: Bruce A. Bunnell

Copyright © 2010 Peter A. Walker et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Recent preclinical work investigating the role of progenitor cell therapies for central nervous system (CNS) injuries has shown potential neuroprotection in the setting of traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), and ischemic stroke. Mechanisms currently under investigation include engraftment and transdifferentiation, modulation of the locoregional inflammatory milieu, and modulation of the systemic immunologic/inflammatory response. While the exact mechanism of action remains controversial, the growing amount of preclinical data demonstrating the potential benefit associated with progenitor cell therapy for neurological injury warrants the development of well-controlled clinical trials to investigate therapeutic safety and efficacy. In this paper, we review the currently active or recently completed clinical trials investigating the safety and potential efficacy of bone marrow-derived progenitor cell therapies for the treatment of TBI, SCI, and ischemic stroke. Our review of the literature shows that while the preliminary clinical trials reviewed in this paper offer novel data supporting the potential efficacy of stem/progenitor cell therapies for CNS injury, a great deal of additional work is needed to ensure the safety, efficacy, and mechanisms of progenitor cell therapy prior to widespread clinical trials.