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Khaboushan, Alireza Soltani; Shakibaei, Mehdi; Kajbafzadeh, Abdol-Mohammad and Zolbin, Masoumeh Majidi (2021): Prenatal Neural Tube Anomalies: A Decade of Intrauterine Stem Cell Transplantation Using Advanced Tissue Engineering Methods. In: Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, Vol. 18, No. 2: pp. 752-767

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Neural tube defects (NTDs) are among the most common congenital defects during neurulation. Spina bifida is a type of NTD that can occur in different forms. Since myelomeningocele (MMC) is the most severe form of spina bifida, finding a satisfactory treatment for MMC is a gold standard for the treatment of spina bifida. The Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) demonstrated that intrauterine treatment of spina bifida could ameliorate the complications associated with spina bifida and would also reduce the placement of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt by 50%. Recently developed tissue engineering (TE) approaches using scaffolds, stem cells, and growth factors allow treatment of the fetus with minimally invasive methods and promising outcomes. The application of novel patches with appropriate stem cells and growth factors leads to better coverage of the defect with fewer complications. These approaches with less invasive surgical procedures, even in animal models with similar characteristics as the human MMC defect, paves the way for the modern application of less invasive surgical methods. Significantly, the early detection of these problems and applying these approaches can increase the potential efficacy of MMC treatment with fewer complications. However, further studies should be conducted to find the most suitable scaffolds and stem cells, and their application should be evaluated in animal models. This review intends to discuss advanced TE methods for treating MMC and recent successes in increasing the efficacy of the treatment.

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