Stem cells possess the unique ability to differentiate into many distinct cell types in the body, including brain cells, but they also retain the ability to produce more stem cells, a process termed self-renewal. There are multiple types of stem cell, such as embryonic stem (ES) cells, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and adult or somatic stem cells. While various types of stem cells share similar properties there are differences as well. For example, ES cells and iPS cells are able to differentiate into any type of cell, whereas adult stem cells are more restricted in their potential. The promise of all stem cells for use in future therapies is exciting, but significant technical hurdles remain that will only be overcome through years of intensive research.
NINDS supports a diverse array of research on stem cells, from studies of the basic biology of stem cells in the developing and adult mammalian brain, to studies focusing on nervous system disorders such as ALS or spinal cord injury. Other examples of NINDS funded research include using iPS cells to derive dopamine-producing neurons that might alleviate symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease, and using ES cells to generate cerebral organoids to model Zika virus infection.
Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories
|Research/Disease Areas*||FY 2016
|Stem Cell Research||$1,516||$1,646||$1,748||$1,626|
*Dollars in millions and rounded
Resources and Tools
Timothy LaVaute, Ph.D. | Program Director, Repair and Plasticity
NIH Common Fund Somatic Cell Genome Editing
Letters of intent are due April 4, 2018
Search the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. Use key words such as “neurological disease” and “stem cell” or “regenerative medicine” in your search.
News & Events
CRISPR helps find new genetic suspects behind ALS/FTD
Study suggests lasting benefits of cord blood transplants in infants with Krabbe disease
NIH Stem Cell Information Page
NIH Policies related to stem cell research
NINDS Human Cell and Data Repository
NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry
NINDS Repository at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research
Regenerative Medicine Program (RMP)