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Adult Stem Cell Therapy and the Immune Response

While cell therapies hold remarkable promise in replacing injured cells and repairing damaged tissues, cell replacement represents just one part of the therapeutic effect. Treatment approaches employing a range of adult stem cells can improve patients' outcomes with neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury and hearing loss without directly replacing damaged or lost cells. As the immune system plays a central role in injury response and tissue repair, researchers led by James E. Baumgartner (Advent Health for Children/University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando, Florida, USA) suggest that multipotent stem cell therapies can achieve a therapeutic effect by altering the immune response to injury, thereby limiting damage due to inflammation and possibly promoting repair. These findings, reported recently in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, argue for a broader understanding of the mechanisms by which cell therapies can benefit patients.