A recent report in the May 2012 issue of the journal Neurosurgery has revealed that the first attempt at treating spinal cord injury in humans, with stem cell therapy, is proving itself effective. Patients with spinal cord injuries were injected with their own stem cells, in an attempt to facilitate the healing process. It was found that thirty percent of the patients showed marked improvements in as little as six months after therapy.
The trial was initiated on six patients, with further additions to the group as research progressed. The therapy involved the culturing of stem cells from individual patient bone marrows into spinal cord cells, followed by the injection of the new cells into the patients spinal cords. The patients were then monitored as they healed. Daily movement activities were observed, as well as scans and tests taken for more detailed assessment of muscle performance.
A brief excerpt from the researchers report states: “Three of the patients showed “continuous and gradual motor improvement,”… In three more patients, the improvement was detectable, but less drastic.”
The report outlines the initial states of the patients, as well as their progress over a six month period. Patients who were initially struggling with basic activities were ultimately able to execute simple tasks like food preparation and typing.
These are very promising results. The team hopes to further understand the treatment mechanisms that take place during therapy. Based on the response rate, the researchers will also be able to determine which candidates are most suitable for the therapy.
A major highlight of the project is the fact that there were minimal patient complications during therapy. The safety of stem cell treatments is therefore proving itself. Previous concerns about the stability of stem cells can somewhat be relaxed.
For further details on the report, please view the following link: