My research program focuses on cell transplantation strategies to repair the damaged spinal cord. We have shown that a number of cell types can both remyelinate the demyelinated CNS and encourage CNS axonal regeneration. Our laboratory utilizes a number of cellular and electrophysiological techniques to study cell transplant-induced repair.
While most of our work utilizes rodent models, we also use nonhuman primates. Although direct surgical implantation of cells is a reasonable approach for cell delivery in single lesion sites, multiple sclerosis is complicated by numerous demyelinated sites within the CNS. We have shown that intravenous delivery of a bone marrow cell fraction enriched with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can home to a demyelinated lesion in the rodent spinal cord and remyelinate the damaged axons.
This suggests the intriguing prospect that methods could be developed for autologous intravenous delivery of cells that could repair demyelinated lesions scattered throughout the CNS. We are aggressively studying this approach in various demyelinating lesion models.
Specialized Terms: Transplantation-based approaches toward restoration; Preservation of function in the injured central nervous system; Axonal regeneration; Cell transplantation; Ion channels; Nerve injury; Remyelination; Spinal cord injury
Central Nervous System; Ion Channels; Nerve Regeneration; Neurology; Neurosciences; Spinal Cord; Spinal Cord Injuries; Veterans; Cell Transplantation