admin November 27, 2018


The inadvertent transmission of long incubating, untreatable and fatal neurodegenerative prionopathies, notably iatrogenic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, following transplantation of cadaver-derived corneas, pituitary growth, hormones and dura mater, constitutes a historical precedent which has underpinned the application of precautionary principles to modern day advanced cell therapies. To date these have been reflected by geographic or medical history risk-based deferral of tissue donors. Emergent understanding of other prion-like proteinopathies, their potential independence from prions as a transmissible agent and the variable capability of scalably manufacturable stem cells and derivatives to take up and clear or to propagate prions, substantiate further commitment to qualifying neurodegenerative proteinopathy transmission risks. This is especially so for those involving direct or facilitated access to a recipient’s brain or connected visual or nervous system such as for the treatment of stroke, retinal and adult onset neurodegenerative diseases, treatments for which have already commenced. In this review, we assess the prospective global dissemination of advanced cell therapies founded on transplantation or exposure to allogeneic human cells, recap lessons learned from the historical precedents of CJD transmission and review recent advances and current limits in understanding of prion and other neurodegenerative disease prion-like susceptibility and transmission. From these we propose grounds for a reassessment of the risks of emergent advanced cell therapies to transmit neuroproteinopathies and suggestions to ACT developers and regulators for risk mitigation and extension of criteria for deferrals.


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