Application of Stem Cell Therapy After Traumatic Brain Injury
Stem cell therapy remains one of the more promising treatments for reducing damage and improving recovery after traumatic brain injury. Despite its potential, there remains a limitation in both research efforts and acceptance by the general public. Continued communication about stem cell therapy may correct both of these limitations. The following is a review of how stem cell therapy can specifically reduce damage after a brain injury.
Stem cells can be transplanted into the brain to form either neurons or the supporting brain cells known as glial cells. Transplanted stem cells can reverse damage by:
1. Facilitating the growth of a "bridge" in lesion areas
2. Providing new neurons that repair damaged circuits
3. Producing neurotrophic factor, a substance important for neural recovery
Stem cells can also be stimulated within the brain, which requires an injection of growth factor to enhance their growth and migration. This provides a more widely acceptable method of stem cell therapy, but needs quite a bit more research to understand how well it works for recovery after brain injury.
Ugoya SO & Tu J. Bench to bedside of neural stem cell in traumatic brain injury. Stem Cells International. (October 2012).