Neuronal replacement therapy is a promising approach for the treatment of spinal cord injury. The unique properties of hNT-Neurons make tem a potential source of cells for this purpose. hNT-Neurons are pure, post-mitotic, differentiated human neuronal cells that can be produced in unlimited quantities according to Good Manufacturing Practices. In transplantation experiments, these neurons survive, mature, grow neurites, form synapses, integrate, and restore functioning. The proposed research is bas4ed on an appreciation of the plasticity of the neurons and their diverse neurotransmitter phenotypes, important properties for the development of optimal spinal cord replacement neurons.
The aims are to vary the parameters of the differentiation process to produce hNT-Neurons with selected phenotypes, screen the activity of specific neuronal preparations in spinal cord explant cultures in vitro, and evaluate the optimized hNT-Neurons in an animal model of spinal cord injury in vivo. Preliminary evidence suggests that hNT-Neurons are scientifically promising, technically feasible, and commercially viable as a source of replacement neurons for the treatment of spinal cord injury and other CNS disorders.