University of Vermont COBRE 2 (P20 RR016435)
"Center for Neuroscience Excellence"

Research Project 3: "Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells for CNS Repair"
Investigator: Jeffrey Spees, Ph.D.

Adult stem cells from bone marrow have the potential to provide dramatic new therapies for neurological disorders. In addition to direct cell replacement by stem cells, current data provide evidence that neurotrophins and growth factors secreted by adult stem cells into the damaged CNS environment may provide a powerful stimulus for nervous system repair. Our work demonstrates that the primary effect of transplanted bone marrow stem cells is to stimulate the proliferation of endogenous CNS progenitors in the brain. We have proposed a series of experiments to test the central hypothesis that sub-populations of adult stem cells from human bone marrow can effectively engraft and repair the injured brain by influencing the proliferation and differentiation of endogenous CNS progenitors.

Specific Aims:
  1. To determine whether specific populations of adult bone marrow stem cells secrete growth factors with known neurotrophic activities.
  2. To determine whether transplantation of the "high neurotrophin population" of marrow stem cells activates endogenous mouse CNS cells, including endogenous stem cells.
  3. To determine whether the "high neurotrophin population" of marrow stem cells affects neuronal survival and activates endogenous stem cells in brain after ischemic stroke.