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Martin Grumet
Martin Grumet
(848) 445-6577
D251 Nelson Labs
Neural stem cells in development & neurological disorders


Stem Cells to Treat Neurological Disorders

One major focus of our laboratory is on radial glia cells, which are neural stem cells that can promote neurite growth both in culture and in vivo. Transplantation experiments are assessing the migration patterns of radial glial neural stem cells in contused rat spinal cord, and their ability to protect neural tissue against secondary damage and promote axonal regrowth. These cells form bridges across spinal cord lesions when transplanted acutely. We have isolated radial glial cells from embryos and embryonic stem cells to analyze their molecular properties and have prepared stabilized cell lines that resemble radial glia and neural stem cells. Transplantation experiments are designed to optimize protocols to protect the injured spinal cord from secondary damage and to promote functional recovery. Other therapies have been tested in the lab using enzymes and drugs (e.g. siRNAs) to promote functional recovery.

Transplantation of neural stem cells in our lab and others indicate that various types of stem cells have anti-inflammatory effects that limit secondary damage and promote recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI). Our lab has begun studying human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) because these cells are anti-inflammatory and have been critical for transplantation in many human patients to repopulate their hematopoietic and immune systems for decades. We have shown that minimally invasive lumbar delivery of MSC has anti-inflammatory effects after SCI in rats. Because of the importance of initiating anti-inflammatory effects as soon as possible after SCI, it is critical to develop forms of MSC that can be ready for use in a wide range of patients. In collaboration with the Bioengineering Dept., MSC are being encapsulated into alginate microspheres that are injected into the lumbar spinal cord. Delivery of the encapsulated MSC one day after SCI decreases the inflammatory response and improves recovery. Moreover, the human MSC are protected from the host by encapsulation in alginate and persist for long periods in the rat spinal cord in contrast to unprotected cells that disappear in several days. Thus, encapsulation should allow unmatched human cells to be used widely. Our approach is to optimize the MSC for minimally invasive delivery and to identify secreted factors that mediate the response in SCI.

The lab is located in The W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience and the Rutgers Stem Cell Research Center.


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