For years, medical experts have been intrigued by the possibility of using a patient’s own stem cells to repair injured spinal cord and today, there is a hint that it might just work.
In a recent study published by researchers from Yale University and Sapporo Medical University in Japan, it was revealed that intravenous injection of bone marrow derived stem cells (MSCs) in patients with spinal cord injuries led to significant improvement in motor functions.
According to Yale, over half of the patients experience substantial improvements in key functions, including ability to walk, or use their hands, within weeks of stem cell injection. As of now, no substantial side effects were observed.
“The stem cells were prepared from the patients’ own bone marrow, via a culture protocol that took a few weeks in a specialized cell processing center. The cells were injected intravenously in this series, with each patient serving as their own control. Results were not blinded and there were no placebo controls.”
The patients had sustained, non-penetrating spinal cord injuries that, in many cases, were results from falls or minor trauma, several weeks before to the implantation of the stem cells.
Prior to treatment, these patients experience loss of motor function and coordination, sensory loss, and bowel and bladder dysfunction.
However, more studies will be needed to confirm the results and these could take years, said senior authors of the study.
Well, at least, there is a glimmer of hope that such injuries could be treated in future. Here’s hoping for more good news in this field of study.
Featured image credit: Stock.adobe.com via Yale News.