The Network for European CNS Transplantation and Restoration (NECTAR) was founded over 25 years ago and celebrated its anniversary in 2015 in Lund, Sweden at the 25th annual conference. NECTAR’s aim is to bring together European groups who share the common goal of protecting, repairing and restoring the central nervous system damaged through degenerative disease or injury. The main protagonists and now newer generations of scientists continue their research exploring cell transplantation and gene therapy as therapeutic strategies to improve the lives of patients with various neurological disorders.
NECTAR has always had an ethos of maintaining the standards of robust scientific, translational experimentation. A second fundamental keystone of its activities has been in nurturing the next generation of young scientists. PhD students and post-doctoral researchers are encouraged to play a significant role at the annual conference adding to the environment of vibrancy and collaboration that lies at the heart of this group.
Functional restoration in the central nervous system has attracted increasing attention recently, not only from scientists and clinicians worldwide, but also from patient foundations, media and healthcare systems. With planned or ongoing clinical trials in cell replacement, neuroprotection and gene therapy, and applications in Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and stroke by our members, the relevance of NECTAR has never been greater.