Induced neural stem cells could promote stroke recovery, prevent damage

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New research out of Japan has demonstrated that induced neural stem cells can help patients recover after a stroke and possibly, when administered early, prevent some of the most severe damage altogether.

Induced neural stem cells, or iNSCs, are somatic cells that have been directly differentiated into neural stem cells, as opposed to pluripotent stem cells, which can differentiate into a number of final products. Scientists from Okayama University found that these iNSCs might be more tolerable in vivo than pluripotents because they derive from the somatic cells without extra steps in between.

In mice with ischemic stroke, the iNSCs exerted a therapeutic effect and promoted functional recovery. What’s more, the cells also protected the brain from ischemia-related damage when administered during the early stages of a stroke.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Cell Transplantation.

“We observed multiple therapeutic effects when using these cells to treat stroke in mice,” Okayama’s Dr. Koji Abe said in a statement. “The iNSCs did not produce any adverse responses in the animals, including tumor formation, which may suggest they are safer than regular iPSCs. Further studies are needed to confirm this cell type as a candidate for cell replacement therapy for stroke.”

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