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Dr Kevin C KempB.Sc.(W.England), M.Sc.(Bristol), Ph.D.(W.England)

Research Fellow

Kevin Kemp

Dr Kevin C KempB.Sc.(W.England), M.Sc.(Bristol), Ph.D.(W.England)

Research Fellow

Member of

Research interests

The major aim of my research is to develop neuro-regenerative approaches for currently untreatable neurological diseases. Through designing and implementing controlled experimental studies, ranging from basic science to translational clinical research, my work explores the therapeutic use of bone marrow stem cell-mobilising agents and bone marrow transplantation strategies for nervous system repair.

Bone marrow stem cell mobilisation

Clinically used bone marrow stem cell-mobilising agents, which stimulate the release of bone marrow cells from the marrow into the peripheral circulation, display direct neuroprotective properties and reparative effects within the nervous system. We have shown that a bone marrow stem cell-mobilising cytokine called G-CSF is effective in reversing symptoms, pathological changes and biochemical abnormalities in models of Friedreich’s ataxia (an inherited progressive neurological disease). We have therefore begun a phase 2 clinical trial of G-CSF in patients with Friedreich’s ataxia to establish whether this therapeutic approach might provide an effective treatment for the condition.

Bone marrow transplantation

Observations that cells derived from the bone marrow can migrate and integrate within the nervous system may offer a biological mechanism that can be exploited therapeutically in people with neurological disease. Our research explores utilising bone marrow transplantation as a mode of gene therapy to provide a source of ‘healthy’ donor bone marrow cells to access the nervous system and support and repair injured nerve cells.    

Cell Fusion

Studies in both humans and models of neurological disease have shown that adult stem cells derived from the bone marrow can travel into the brain and fuse with damaged neurons. Our experimental findings have provided evidence that in fusing together, the bone marrow stem cell transfers healthy genetic material into the damaged nerve cell leading to its repair and restoring its function. These discoveries have provided exciting new insights into how the body naturally protects injured neurons during adulthood and the potential for cell fusion to be harnessed therapeutically for nervous system repair.

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Postal address:
Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Lev
Learning and Research Building
Southmead Hospital
Bristol
United Kingdom