Neural stem cells (NSCs) are self-renewing, multipotent cells that generate the main phenotype of the nervous system. Stem cells are characterized by their capability to differentiate into multiple cell types via exogenous stimuli from their environment.
Compared with other types of stem cells, adult neural stem cells (aNSCs) have clinical advantages, such as limited proliferation, inborn differentiation potential into functional neural cells, and no ethical issues. In spite of the merits of aNSCs, difficulties in the isolation from the normal brain, and in the in vitro expansion, have blocked preclinical and clinical study using aNSCs.
Several groups have recently developed novel techniques to isolate and expand aNSCs from normal adult brains, and showed successful applications of aNSCs to neurological diseases. With new technologies for aNSCs and their clinical strengths, previous hurdles in stem cell therapies for neurological diseases could be overcome, to realize clinically efficacious regenerative stem cell therapeutics 1).
NSCs as well as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been reported to possess tumor tropism capacities.