About this Research Topic
This Research Topic aims to bring together insights gained in the fields of developmental and regenerative biology and is an attempt to integrate them into current stem cell-based regenerative therapies. The nervous system is not innately regenerated in humans. Therefore, regenerative strategies such as cell replacement therapy using pluripotent stem cells are being developed to treat neurological disorders, especially neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ischemic brain damage, and spinal cord injury. While huge advances have been made in the field of cell replacement therapy, significant hurdles remain to be overcome to achieve functional restoration after cell transplantation. One of the most important issues is unsatisfactory functional integration of grafted cells into the host neuronal circuit Therefore, the efficacy of cell replacement therapy should be improved by using it in combination with various other strategies.
Embryology and regenerative biology provide important hints in this regard. During normal fetal development, precursor cells give rise to specific cell types that form organs and body via a process that is regulated by crucial factors according to positional cues. Consistently, recruitment of stem/progenitor cells to correct positions also helps to restore destroyed/damaged tissues in animals with a regenerative capacity. With the knowledge of positional cues taken into account more rationale strategy could be established to assist the use of stem/progenitor cells to form a complex organ. Recent advances in pharmacological tools help to mimic the fundamental principles of brain development and regeneration. One strategy to improve functional restoration by grafted cells is to manipulate cell fate and the brain microenvironment using small compounds and soluble factors. Additionally, attempts are being made to improve the outcome of cell replacement therapy using strategies such as gene engineering and rehabilitation. These approaches may facilitate drug development and help to develop a powerful combinatorial strategy that improves the efficacy of cell replacement therapy.
Potential topics can be related (but are not limited to):
1. Drug development and advanced technologies for efficient cell replacement therapy and endogenous repair.
2. Pharmacological and genetic approaches to improve differentiation of pluripotent stem cells and direct conversion.
3. Translational aspects of embryology and animal regeneration with relevance to stem cell-based regenerative therapy.
4. Novel technologies for understanding neural development and regeneration that will facilitate refining stem cell-based regenerative therapy.
5. Disease modeling and drug discovery utilizing pluripotent stem cells.
Keywords: cell replacement therapy, drug development, combined therapy, embryology, animal regeneration
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