Progenitor Cell Therapy
Progenitor cells are early descendants of stem cells that can differentiate to form one or more kinds of cells that cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely. It is often confused with adult stem cells. It is often more limited than a stem cell in the kinds of cells it can become. However, it is found out that progenitor cells do have potential uses in medicine. Children’s Hospital in Boston has been studying about progenitor cells and its possibility of building heart valves, blood vessels, and electrically conductive tissue for the heart.
There are current cell therapies that use progenitor cells to treat human diseases like central nervous system injuries and ischemic heart disease. Studies have 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 situation, 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.
Progenitor cell therapies have evolved in number of approaches. Four strategies are especially eye-catching for clinical transformation: first, transplantation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells as a means of treating the disorders of myelin; second, transplantation of phenotypically restricted neuronal progenitor cells to treat diseases of discrete loss of a single neuronal phenotype, such as Parkinson disease; third, implantation of mixed progenitor pools to treat diseases characterized by the loss of several discrete phenotypes, such as spinal cord injury; and fourth, mobilization of endogenous neural progenitor cells to restore neurons lost as a result of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Huntington disease. Together, these may present the most compelling strategies and near-term disease targets for cell-based neurological therapy.
Progenitor cell therapies are not yet ensured of the safety it has. It still has to undergo further research to address a number of issues. Additional work is needed to ensure the safety of this therapy prior to widespread clinical trials.