Stem Cell Transplant Versus Drug Therapy for Severe TBI

Researchers are weighing the risks versus the rewards of using stem cell transplants with people with severe traumatic brain injury.

It's not a problem that you have rapid functional recovery, but you want to know why you have it, and if you are able to achieve that type of functional recovery with a drug as opposed to a cellular replacement. You always want to look at the risk versus the reward ratio, and the risk--the potential risk in doing stem cell transplantation is far higher because then--then with administering a neuroprotective drug therapy. And it's far higher because once you put those cells into the human brain, if we were doing that, which we're not near that stage yet, you can't take them out. So if there are cells from-- Let's say theoretically we were at the stage that we could, with a brain injured person, take and isolate stem cells from say debrided brain tissue, brain tissue that has to be taken out due to the injury, and this has been done in 2007. Richardson and Bullock had published an article where they had isolated neural stem cells from debrided brain tissue from human patients. And then you can take those cells and you can culture them and you could transplant them back into that same patient where you don't have to worry about immune rejection. You don't have to worry about--probably tumor formation because these are more differentiated cells that are not gonna-- they're not gonna keep expanding like embryonic stem cells.
Posted on BrainLine October 25, 2011.

Produced by Brian King, Ashley Gilleland, and Noel Gunther, BrainLine.