New evidence for cell therapy helps patients with spinal cord injury

Mar, 2021 - By SMI

New evidence for cell therapy helps patients with spinal cord injury

New research data in 13 cases suggests that experimental stem cell treatment is safe and effective in treating spinal cord injury.

A detailed analysis of 13 cases found that injections into stem cells lead to significant improvements in motor function in patients with spinal cord injury. Research also suggests that the novel therapy is safe, with no serious side effects, instead of large clinical trials are needed to strengthen its effectiveness.

Various treatments for spinal cord injuries have been developed over the years. Numerous animal studies have suggested that these treatments may help to repair damaged spinal cords, however, they are still in the early days of human safety and performance tests. Bone marrow stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow have shown promising results in early human trials. Previous studies have used MSCs for intravenous spinal injections, instead of this new study looks at how safe and effective the treatment is when it comes to injecting.

In 2014, Japan introduced an accreditation system that allows conditional and time-limited use of certain test drugs as long as the preliminary safety data is provided. This new study is the first clinical data to be published from the first trial cases that resulted in the Japanese fast-track approval, and certainly provides promising indications that stem cell therapies may still be effective in repairing spinal cord injuries. However, in-depth clinical trials are .

The 13-case studies described in the study data are rapid and significant improvements in motor performance over half of the group. No adverse effects were observed in any of these cases.

"Similar results with stem cells in patients with a stroke increase our confidence that this approach can help clinically," said co-author Jeffrey Kocsis. "This clinical study is the culmination of a great pre-laboratory operation using MSCs among Yale and Sapporo colleagues over many years."

Stephen Waxman, co-author of the study, shares Kocsis' view that more work is still needed to understand how this treatment program works in human patients. Sure both are optimistic instead of the stress it may be years before clear performance data leads to the acceptance of local clinics.

"The idea that we can restore function after brain and spinal cord injury to a patient's degree cells has fascinated us for years," Waxman said. "We now have a proposal, to the people, to make this happen."

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