Neural stem cells (NSCs) hold great promise as regenerative therapy for damaged central nervous system (CNS), including the brain, spinal cord, and eye (retina). NSCI’s research applies to many diseases and injuries of the CNS including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Spinal Cord Injury, Autism and Schizophrenia.
At NSCI, we are using stem cells in 3 different paradigms to achieve a viable therapeutic for sick patients.
- Disease modeling- researchers at the NSCI use stem cells to re-create diseases of the nervous system in order to better study its progression. One example of this, researchers here created a model of Aged Related Macular Degeneration. This model is currently being used to screen new drugs that will slow down the disease progression thus preventing blindness.
- Cell Replacement- NSCI researchers are exploring the use of stem cells to replace the sick cells of a particular pathology. For example, we can derive neurons from specific regions of the brain and spinal cord. If we can do this efficiently, we can use the cells to replenish the dying population.
- Stimulation of Resident Stem Cells- Research has shown that stem cells do exist in the adult CNS but remain inactive, or dormant. These dormant cells can be activated to mediate repair and regeneration in lower animals that regenerate brain tissue or even re-grow an eye. The NSCs that accomplish such remarkable repair are inhibited in higher animals like humans or mice but can be activated by injecting stem cell growth factors. We have found that implanting growth factor releasing beads makes spinal cord injured mice walk again and are working to apply such stimulation of endogenous NSCs to a variety of injuries and diseases that damage our CNS.
Our research programs, funded by the National Institute of Health and the NYS stem cell research program, have led to amazing discoveries that are published in high impact journals, and on their way towards use in the clinic. Find out more about our specific disease programs:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Brain Disease
- Mental Disorders
- Eye Disease
- Macular Degeneration
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Brain Injury/Stroke