Stem Cell Therapies for Alzheimer's Disease: Is It Time?

Sheng-Min Wang; Chang-Uk Lee; Hyun Kook Lima


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2019;32(2):105-116. 

In This Article


Rapid development and advances indicate that it is timely to further stem cells therapy research in Alzheimer's disease. Various animal studies illustrated that stem cells may provide disease-modifying effect. In addition, recent research focused on the interplay of amyloid-beta Aβ (and tau), neurons, glia, direct regeneration of neurons and synapses, and antiinflammation as possible mechanism of action of stem cells in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Two completed and nine ongoing clinical trials using diverse stem cells and administration methods (intravenous and intra-cranial) were found for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. However, the transgenic models used in animal studies were based on familial Alzheimer's disease hypotheses, which does not properly reflect general Alzheimer's disease in human. The two completed human trials both used stereotactic injections, so its safety and efficacy in other injection modalities including intravenous and intracranial must be confirmed. Thus, the stem cell therapy for Alzheimer's disease has now just passed infancy and entered toddlerhood. It is time to use these innovative techniques to illustrate not only potential, but also the prospects of stem cell therapy in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.