Spinal Cord Injuries and Stem Cells
Among the many new stem cell therapies being explored are those in the area of regenerative medicine, such as spinal cord repair.
Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is a long delicate structure protected by the hard-outer spinal column. It begins at the brain stem and continues down to the base of the spine. Together with the brain, the spinal cord forms the body’s central nervous system, containing millions of nerve cells that carry crucial signals from the brain to different parts of the body. When the spinal cord is damaged, for example, following a traffic accident, sporting injury or a bad fall, paralysis can occur, alongside the loss of muscle control and the ability to perform normal bodily functions.
There is no one effective treatment to restore spinal cord function, and current care protocols include intensive physical therapy and rehabilitation techniques. After an injury, damaged spinal cord cells release toxins resulting in inflammation, and causing further damage and scarring to the surrounding cells.
Stem Cells and Spinal Cord Repair
Various animal studies show that stem cell transplants can support spinal cord repair in several ways. These include replacing nerve cells that have died as a result of injury, generating new supporting cells, protecting neighboring cells from further damage, and reducing inflammation.
There are several clinical trials exploring whether stem cell treatments are effective in restoring spinal cord function in humans with some positive outcomes having been documented. These include:
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, focused on reducing secondary damage, with a target enrolment of 350 participants, and an expected completion date of 2025.
CELLTOP Clinical: First Report from a Phase 1 Trial of Autologous Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the Treatment of Paralysis due to Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.
To learn more about the diseases stem cells treat, read our earlier blog here. If you have any questions about how preserving stem cells and how it has the possibility of increasing future health options for your child, please contact us today.