While the ideas behind our topic are very strong, achieving these ideas is a whole other goal.
On paper, these ideas seem very simple and are widely attainable. However, when actually sought out to achieve them, they are less likely to be the of the same simplicity. As odd as it sounds, some of the biggest limitations in stem cells aren’t in the stem cells themselves, instead they are in the component that needs to be fixed.
For example, in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, the stem cells just need to be specialized so that they understand what to fix. What we don’t know though, is what type of neurons degenerate and what is lacking in them for them to degenerate this quickly. Not knowing this really creates a problem since the cells need to know what they are being sent to repair, and if we don’t know what that is, it is very unlikely that stem cells will be able to do much of anything, What we do know is that neurogenesis and neuroplasticity are impaired in brains of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases and correlate with low endogenous protection, as a result of diminished growth factors. Research in neurodegenerative diseases focus on understanding why neurons degenerate in brains with Alzheimer’s disease and how to either slow down the process or replace lost neurons. Since less neurons are being grown and the same rate of neurons diminishing as before, which then unknowingly leads to a rapid decrease in motor neurons.
The complex pathology of neurodegenerative pathways includes changes in gene expression, protein metabolisms, response of receptors, level of neurotransmitters, activity of kinase, and signaling pathways. The breakthrough needed in order for stem cells therapy to become a major technology in nerve regeneration and to cure neurodegenerative diseases would be to research and discover the unique neural pathologies that affect each disease and find the reason behind neural loss, and the specific neural cells that are present in these pathologies.As for peripheral nerve injuries, direct nerve repair with surgical interventions is still the treatment of choice. Current experimental research in peripheral nerve regeneration aims to accelerate the process of regeneration using pharmacologic agent and bioengineering of nerve tubes.
Targeting specific steps in molecular pathways also allows for purposeful pharmacological intervention, potentially leading to a better functional recovery after nerve injury.