According to a news release from the University of South Florida (USF), researchers say stem cells may play a role in brain repair post-trauma. The researchers note that transplanted cells appear to build what they call a “biobridge”, linking an injured brain where new neural stem cells are born with the damaged region of the brain. The release notes that based in part on data reported by USF researchers in this preclinical study, the FDA recently approved a limited clinical trial to transplant SanBio Inc's SB632 cells in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
During the study, researchers reportedly randomly assigned rats with TBI and confirmed neurological impairment to one of two groups. One group was administered transplants of bone marrow-derived stem cells into the region of the brain impacted by traumatic injury. The control group, researchers say, received a “sham” procedure in which solution alone was infused into the brain with no implantation of stem cells. The results suggest that at one and 3 months post-TBI, the rats receiving stem cell transplants exhibited significantly improved motor and neurological function and reduced brain tissue damage when compared to rats receiving no stem cells.
The release states that following these findings, researchers conducted a series of experiments to assess the host brain tissue. Upon examination 3 months post-TBI, researchers report the brains of the transplanted rats demonstrated massive cell proliferation and differentiation of stem cells into neuron-like cells in the area of injury. This result, the release states, was followed by a solid stream of stem cells migrating from the brain's uninjured subventricular zone to the brain's site of injury.
Rats who received the solution alone exhibited limited proliferation and neural-commitment of stem cells, with scattered migration to the site of brain injury and nearly no expression of newly formed cells in the subventrical zone, researchers say. They add that the transplanted stem cells appear to create a neurovascular matrix that bridges the long distance gap between the region in the brain where host neural stem cells arise and the site of injury.