Cell therapy is emerging as a viable therapy to restore neurological function after stroke. Many types of stem/progenitor cells from different sources have been explored for their feasibility and efficacy for the treatment of stroke. Transplanted cells not only have the potential to replace the lost circuitry, but also produce growth and trophic factors, or stimulate the release of such factors from host brain cells, thereby enhancing endogenous brain repair processes. Although stem/progenitor cells have shown a promising role in ischemic stroke in experimental studies as well as initial clinical pilot studies, cellular therapy is still at an early stage in humans. Many critical issues need to be addressed including the therapeutic time window, cell type selection, delivery route, and in vivo monitoring of their migration pattern. This review attempts to provide a comprehensive synopsis of preclinical evidence and clinical experience of various donor cell types, their restorative mechanisms, delivery routes, imaging strategies, future prospects and challenges for translating cell therapies as a neurorestorative regimen in clinical applications.
Keywords: Cell-based therapies; Ischemic stroke; Neurorestoration; Stem cells.
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