Human Fetal Neural Stem Cells for Neurodegenerative Disease Treatment

Results Probl Cell Differ. 2018;66:307-329. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-93485-3_14.


Clinical trials for Parkinson's disease, which used primary brain fetal tissue, have demonstrated that neural stem cell therapy could be suitable for neurodegenerative diseases. The use of fetal tissue presents several issues that have hampered the clinical development of this approach. In addition to the ethical concerns related to the required continuous supply of fetal specimen, the necessity to use cells from multiple fetuses in a single graft greatly compounded the problem. Cell viability and composition vary in different donors, and, further, the heterogeneity in the donor cells increased the probability of immunological rejection or contamination. An ideal cell source for cell therapy is one that is renewable, thus eliminating the need for transplantation of primary fetal tissue, and that also allows for viability, sterility, cell composition, and cell maturation to be controlled, while being inherently not tumorigenic. The availability of continuous and standardized clinical grade normal human neural cells, able to combine the plasticity of fetal tissue with an extensive proliferating capacity and functional stability, would be of paramount importance for the translation of cell therapy for central nervous system (CNS) disorders into the clinic. Here we describe a well-established protocol to produce human neural stem cells following GMP guidelines that allows us to obtain "clinical grade" cell lines.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Tissue Transplantation
  • Cell Line
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation*
  • Fetus / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*