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The brain cannot repair itself. Significant cell loss in the brain - whether caused by injury or neurodegenerative disease - can lead to profound and progressive impairment, spontaneous recovery is limited and, for all purposes, prognosis is typically poor. However, recent transplantation technologies now allow us to replace brain cells surgically. When we place new-born actively-developing neurons of the correct type in the appropriate brain location, the cells can survive, integrate, repair damaged circuits and restore lost functions. I will review these exciting new technologies, drawing examples using both immature fetal cells and stem cells, applied both in experimental animals and in patients with Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. I will also consider briefly the technical, logistic, ethical and regulatory challenges in translating what are still highly experimental treatments into practical therapies for diverse neurodegenerative diseases in our society.

27th November 2013

Large Chemistry Lecture Theatre
Cardiff University

Brain Repair Group, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University

Professor Stephen Dunnett DSc FMedSci FLSW

Strategies for Brain Repair

Layer 5-pyramidal cell