Promises and Limitations of Neural Stem Cell Therapies for Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple disease-modifying medications with regulatory approval to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) are unable to prevent inflammatory tissue damage in the central nervous system (CNS), and none directly promote repair. Thus, there is an unmet clinical need for therapies that can arrest and reverse the persistent accumulation of disabilities associated with progressive forms of MS (P-MS). Preclinical research has revealed an unexpected ability of neural stem cell (NSC) therapies to provide neurotrophic support and inhibit detrimental host immune responses in vivo following transplantation into the chronically inflamed CNS. We discuss NSC transplantation as a promising therapy for P-MS, elaborate on the necessities of clinical trial validation and formalized usage guidelines, and caution about unscrupulous 'clinics' marketing unproven therapies to patients.