The long-term objectives of this research are to identify safe and effective anesthetics to be used for human stem cell transplantation and to define the effect anesthetics have on stem cells in vivo. To achieve this goal we will identify the effect of several common anesthetic drugs on stem cells in culture and in animals. Specifically, we will determine whether anesthetics change the rate of growth of stem cells or limit the type of cell they may eventually become.
Human embryonic stem cell based therapies will likely be attempted for multiple diseases in many different organ systems in the next few decades. Stem cell transplant in humans and experimentation in animal models will require sedation or complete general anesthesia for many therapies. Very little research has been done on the role that common anesthetics may play in the biology of human stem cells, and how such anesthetics may affect the function or differentiation of these cells once transplanted. Choosing the correct anesthetic may impact the success or failure of early animal and human clinical trials.
This proposal focuses specifically on neural stem cells which have been proposed as a potential treatment for many different pathologic states including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Some stem cell transplants will be performed under general anesthesia and some will be performed in individuals likely to undergo multiple or long duration anesthetics around the time of their injury and potential transplant (i.e. traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and neonatal stroke) leading to more anesthetic exposure after the transplant. Understanding the role of anesthetics in stem cell biology is imperative and will provide the basis for developing appropriate anesthetic techniques for stem cell based clinical applications.