Promoting Brain Repair and Regeneration After Stroke: a Plea for Cell-Based Therapies

  • Ania Dabrowski
  • Thomas J. Robinson
  • Ryan J. FellingEmail author
Neurorehabilitation and Recovery (J Krakauer and T Kitago, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neurorehabilitation and Recovery


Purpose of Review

After decades of hype, cell-based therapies are emerging into the clinical arena for the purposes of promoting recovery after stroke. In this review, we discuss the most recent science behind the role of cell-based therapies in ischemic stroke and the efforts to translate these therapies into human clinical trials.

Recent Findings

Preclinical data support numerous beneficial effects of cell-based therapies in both small and large animal models of ischemic stroke. These benefits are driven by multifaceted mechanisms promoting brain repair through immunomodulation, trophic support, circuit reorganization, and cell replacement.


Cell-based therapies offer tremendous potential for improving outcomes after stroke through multimodal support of brain repair. Based on recent clinical trials, cell-based therapies appear both feasible and safe in all phases of stroke. Ongoing translational research and clinical trials will further refine these therapies and have the potential to transform the approach to stroke recovery and rehabilitation.


Neurogenesis Stem cells Transplantation Stroke recovery Neuroplasticity Brain regeneration 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Ania Dabrowski and Thomas J. Robinson each declare no potential conflict of interest.

Ryan J. Felling reports grants from NIH/NINDS for stem cell research (K08NS097704).

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ania Dabrowski
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Robinson
    • 1
  • Ryan J. Felling
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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