Published online Aug 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i8.787
Peer-review started: February 28, 2020
First decision: April 2, 2020
Revised: April 10, 2020
Accepted: July 26, 2020
Article in press: July 26, 2020
Published online: August 26, 2020
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory loss and cognitive impairment. It is caused by synaptic failure and excessive accumulation of misfolded proteins. To date, almost all advanced clinical trials on specific AD-related pathways have failed mostly due to a large number of neurons lost in the brain of patients with AD. Also, currently available drug candidates intervene too late. Stem cells have improved characteristics of self-renewal, proliferation, differentiation, and recombination with the advent of stem cell technology and the transformation of these cells into different types of central nervous system neurons and glial cells. Stem cell treatment has been successful in AD animal models. Recent preclinical studies on stem cell therapy for AD have proved to be promising. Cell replacement therapies, such as human embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cell–derived neural cells, have the potential to treat patients with AD, and human clinical trials are ongoing in this regard. However, many steps still need to be taken before stem cell therapy becomes a clinically feasible treatment for human AD and related diseases. This paper reviews the pathophysiology of AD and the application prospects of related stem cells based on cell type.
Core tip: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder featuring memory loss and cognitive impairment, is caused by synaptic failure and the excessive accumulation of misfolded proteins. Stem cell-based therapies cast a new hope for AD treatment as a replacement or regeneration strategy. The results from recent preclinical studies regarding stem cell-based therapies are promising. Human clinical trials are now underway. However, a number of questions remain to be answered prior to safe and effective clinical translation. This review explores the pathophysiology of AD and summarizes the relevant stem cell research according to cell type. We also briefly summarize related clinical trials. Finally, future perspectives are discussed with regard to their clinical applications.