Disease and Stem Cell-Based Analysis of the 2013 ASNTR Meeting

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Regenerative medicine, Neurodegenerative diseases, Stem cell therapies, Combinational studies/therapies

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A wide diversity of subjects are presented at the annual American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair meeting every year, and 2013 was no exception. An insight into the current research trends in regenerative medicine was provided, including studies to elucidate disease mechanisms and the means to treat them. Different methods featured in 2013 included stem cell and tissue transplantation, gene therapy, dietary supplementation, and hydrogels as scaffold systems for the growth of stem cells. Diseases ranged from Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and stroke to traumatic brain injury, pain, and epilepsy. Traumatic brain injury was an increasingly popular topic, highlighting the concerns of soldiers returning from duty overseas. A number of studies looked at ways to treat or elucidate mechanisms for more than one disorder. The studies including stem cells predominantly involved human-derived cells being transplanted, and the most common recipient of stem cells were rodents. Only one autologous transplant study, which featured mouse bone marrow cells being transplanted into mice for the treatment of stroke, was presented this year. The most popular stem cell studied was the neural stem cell, which in some instances was predifferentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells or embryonic stem cells. Other stem cells included the mesenchymal stem cell and adipose, amniotic fluid, and umbilical cord blood-derived cells. Many studies also looked at more than one stem cell type. Combinational studies, such as gene therapy and transplantation, were also commonly explored as well as studies using fetal ventral mesencephalon or spinal cord tissue rather than stem cells. Numerous studies also featured the use of “drugs”—some naturally derived or naturally occurring as well as drug cocktails. A number of possible treatments, including physical therapy and socialization, were explored for a number of different diseases, as well as reports on the current status of four gene therapy clinical trials for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Other studies assessed possible causes of specific disorders. In this way, the ASNTR provides an important snapshot of developments in the field of regenerative medicine.

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Cell Medicine, v. 6, issue 3, p. 129-133