Cell encapsulation technology is based on the immobilization of cells that secrete active therapeutic agents, in structures made from different biomaterials and surrounded by a semipermeable membrane that protects the cells from the host immune response and the mechanical stress. This technology has proven to be a suitable treatment strategy for different kinds of diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, anemia, cancer or central nervous system (CNS) diseases since promising results have been obtained in numerous works that have been carried out in this field. For this last application, cell encapsulation technology presents exceptional features as it allows direct, continuous and long-lasting release of the desired therapeutic product, next to the affected tissue and without crossing the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). Numerous studies have been carried out using this technology, in different animal models of CNS diseases, in which encouraging results have been obtained. Moreover, the rapid developments achieved in recent years, have allowed the application of these strategies in several advanced clinical trials, reflecting the potential of these techniques. However, there are still some features that must be optimized before cell encapsulation technology can be applied in clinical practice. This chapter will focus on the application of cell encapsulation technology in the treatment of CNS diseases, such as epilepsy, different neurodegenerative disorders- Parkinson, Alzheimer, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Huntington-, pathologies caused by traumas or ischemic processes and brain tumors.
Keywords: Cell encapsulation, cell therapy, biomaterials, central nervous system diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, neurotrophic factor, neuroprotection, neuroregeneration, brain, hollow fiber, alginate, alzheimer’s disease, parkinson’s disease, huntington’s disease, epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebral ischemia, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, brain tumors.