Research Topic

Cell-based Therapies for Stroke: Promising Solution or Dead End?

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Stroke remains a leading cause of serious long-term disability in adulthood. As such, it is not only a source of suffer for individuals, but also an enormous economic burden to the society. Although significant advances have recently been made, treatment options are still limited. Cell-based therapies, ...

Stroke remains a leading cause of serious long-term disability in adulthood. As such, it is not only a source of suffer for individuals, but also an enormous economic burden to the society. Although significant advances have recently been made, treatment options are still limited. Cell-based therapies, initially applied in hematological disorders, have been investigated as possible therapeutics for a variety of neurological diseases.

Preclinical studies in the last two decades have demonstrated that such therapies may result in structural and functional improvements in stroke models. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms for these effects are subject to continued research and development. Moreover, the translation from basic and preclinical investigations to clinical trials continues to be a significant challenge, and “true” and robust tissue restoration has not yet been achieved.

In the clinical setting, the number of studies is gradually increasing, but no “silver bullet” is on the horizon. Therefore, it would be vital to provide the current perspective if cell-based therapies are to become a realistic solution for stroke, before the enthusiasm for cell-based treatments diminishes and leads to a dead end.

This Research Topic welcomes submissions involving cell-based therapies in experimental or clinical studies for stroke. We encourage the submission of original research and review manuscripts, including thought-provoking concepts. Submitted contributions may address, but are not limited to one of the following subtopics:

Therapeutic mechanisms of stem cells in stroke
• Investigation of basic mechanisms of cell therapies for stroke
• Stem cells and immune cell modulation in stroke
• The choice of stem cells for stroke
• Treatment of chronic stroke using stem cells’

Novel perspectives and techniques
• Cell engineering to tune properties of stem cells to fit the stroke needs
• Do we need stem cells at all? The therapeutic potential of microvesicles (and beyond) for stroke
• Stem cells and biomaterials: providing anatomical cues to repopulate old ischemic/hemorrhagic brain lesions

Combination approaches
• Stem cells as part of combination therapies for stroke
• Stem cells in the era of mechanical recanalization
• Interaction between cell therapies, drugs and stroke patients’ comorbidities

Translational aspects and clinical implementation
• Cryopreservation, storage issues, and tailored potency assays for the development of cell-based products for stroke
• Preclinical experimental design versus clinical trial designs (do they match at all?)
• Routes of stem cell-based therapeutics delivery to stroke
• Non-invasive assessment of safety, biodistribution and efficacy of cell therapies for stroke in small animals, large animals and patients.
• Molecular imaging of stroke to select stem cell approach and monitor therapeutic effects
• Stem cells are not for all – ethical and cultural barriers
• Preparation of clinical trials with stem cells for stroke: regulatory and logistic challenges


Keywords: Stroke, Stem Cells, Cell Therapies, Ischemic Stroke, Hemorrhagic Stroke


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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