An early stage trial has shown improvement in motor functions and feeling from intravenous injection of bone marrow derived stem cells.
This is a world-first: it is the first time a patient’s own bone marrow derived stem (MSCs) cells have been used in research relating to spinal cord injury.
The study, conducted by Yale University and Sapporo Medical University (Japan), intravenously injected MSCs into patients with spinal cord injuries, and this led to significant improvement in motor functions. For example some of the patients experienced improved ability to walk or use of their hands.
It’s important to note, however, that this was a preliminary, unblinded trial, so more studies will be needed to confirm the results.
“Up until now stem cells have failed to live up to the hype that has previously surrounded them,” said Duncan Wallace, SpinalCure’s Executive Director.
“So in this small study it’s really encouraging to see some improvements to people’s abilities.
“By using the patient’s own cells, it takes away the contentious ethical issues of using embryonic stem cells.
“We will be keeping a close eye on this research as it develops, to assess its potential for changing lives by regrowing nerves across the damaged spinal cord.”