Project Summary

Every year, traumatic brain injury, stroke and neurodegenerative disease collectively cost the Canadian medical system millions of dollars while effective neural regenerative therapies remain elusive. Astrogliosis, a cellular response common to such neural insults, leads to the formation of a non-functional “glial scar” and an inhibitory cellular environment that impedes neural regeneration and further recovery. Our proposed project involves engineering microglia, the mobile immune cells of the brain, to package and deliver a therapeutic plasmid DNA construct specifically to the reactive astrocytes that comprise these glial scars. The plasmids will contain a reprogramming factor that converts reactive astrocytes into new neurons, helping to both restore the functional neuronal population and permit regrowth of damaged connections. Altogether, this study provides the basis for a novel, tissue-specific, personalized, non-immunogenic, non-invasive neural rehabilitative therapy that has the potential to significantly improve current methods of stimulating functional recovery following brain injury or disease onset.


  • Our project is directed towards converting astrocytes from glial scars into functional neurons



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