Research over the last two decades revealed the presence of cells in the adult mammalian brain, which have the ability to proliferate and to differentiate into the major cell types of the central nervous system, i.e. neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. In the adult brain there are two regions where stem cells generate new neurons. Understanding signaling in adult neural stem cells and their potential for therapeutic applications are the focus of the Bavarian research network“Adult NeuralStem Cells” (ForNeuroCell)
The research network ForNeuroCell will contribute essentially to the development of a regenerative cell replacement therapy for acute and chronic diseases of the central nervous system on the basis of adult stem cells. During the past years, it has become increasingly evident that next to neuroprotection, meaning the strategy of protecting damaged cells from dying off, the regenerative cell replacement therapy is the treatment approach with the greatest potential for the most common afflictions of the brain (trauma, cerebral ischemia, neurodegenerative diseases).
There are two complementary strategies for the therapeutic application of adult stem cells
a) Increase and modulation of endogenous neurogenesis
b) transplantation of ex vivo generated neural and/or glial precursors cells
ForNeuroCell aims by advancing basic research and biotechnological development for adult stem cells of the nervous system to achieve regeneration of neural cells and reconstitution of the damaged central nervous system by
(1) identification of signalling pathways in maintenance and differentiation of adult neural stem cells
(2) targeted programming or reprogramming of stem cells
(3) preclinical testing in lesion models
(4) development of imaging techniques for the detection of endogenous as well as transplanted stem cells in the living organism
(5) transfer of stem cell technology to human cells.
ForNeuroCell represents a network of 10 research groups based
the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg,
the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich,
the Technical University of Munich,
the University of Regensburg,
the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg and
the Hemholtz Center Munich.
This consortium is highly suitable for working on the challenging
questions as the following technological resources are well
a) state-of-the-art molecular biology
b) innovative cell biology
c) pre-clinical animal models for acute and chronic CNS
d) cutting edge imaging technology