Year 5

Our project demonstrates that Schwann cells (cells that support and protect peripheral nerves) could be cultured, genetically manipulated and surgically delivered to models of peripheral nerve disease.  We found they could engraft to form myelin in either acquired or inherited myelin injury models, analogous to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or inflammatory neuropathies in humans.  This demonstrates for the first time proof of concept for pursuing cell therapy for diseases of peripheral nerve outside of simple nerve injury.  Remaining hurdles include the lack existing technology for generating human iPSC-derived Schwann cell precursors for transplantation that are competent to generate myelin.