May 18, 2024
Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cell Therapy Shows Promise in Treating Spinal Cord Injuries, Study Finds

A recent study conducted by Mayo Clinic has revealed promising results in the use of stem cells derived from patients’ own fat to improve sensation and movement after traumatic spinal cord injuries. Published in Nature Communications, the Phase I clinical trial demonstrated the safety and potential benefits of this innovative therapy for individuals living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

The study, which involved 10 adult participants, showed that seven individuals experienced improvements based on the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale. These improvements included enhanced sensation, increased muscle strength, and recovery of voluntary anal contraction, essential for bowel function. Notably, each of the seven participants who showed improvement moved up at least one level on the ASIA scale, indicating progress in function.

Dr. Mohamad Bydon, a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic and the lead author of the study, emphasized the significance of the findings in highlighting the safety and potential therapeutic effects of stem cell therapy in treating spinal cord injuries. The study also identified that there were no serious adverse events reported post-treatment, with common side effects such as headache and musculoskeletal pain being manageable with over-the-counter medications.

While acknowledging the complexity of spinal cord injuries, researchers are optimistic about the potential of stem cell therapy in combination with other treatments to enhance patient outcomes. The study’s secondary objective of evaluating changes in motor and sensory function yielded promising results, though researchers caution that further investigations are necessary to assess long-term risks and benefits.

Participants in the trial had their own stem cells harvested from fat tissue, which were then processed and injected into the lumbar spine over a period of four weeks. The study monitored the individuals over two years, with assessments conducted regularly at Mayo Clinic to track progress.

An unexpected finding from the trial was the notable improvement observed in patients with cervical and thoracic spinal injuries, with some individuals moving up multiple levels on the ASIA scale post-treatment. This suggests the potential for stem cell therapy to facilitate sensory and motor recovery in patients with severe spinal cord injuries.

The study’s results underscore the importance of exploring novel treatment approaches for spinal cord injuries, as conventional therapies have been limited to supportive care and rehabilitation. Stem cell therapy, though still considered experimental by regulatory bodies, holds promise in offering tangible improvements in the quality of life for patients with debilitating spinal cord injuries.

Moving forward, researchers emphasize the need for further investigations to determine the effectiveness of stem cell therapies in specific patient populations and to establish standardized treatment protocols. By challenging conventional beliefs and advancing scientific understanding, this research marks a significant step towards enhancing treatment options and outcomes for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it