Researchers from Yale University and Japan published a report in the Journal of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery on February 18, stating that intravenous injection of bone marrow-derived stem cells (MSCs) can be effective in patients with spinal cord injury. Significantly improve motor function.
Researchers report that for more than half of patients, substantial improvements in key functions, such as walking or hands-on ability, are observed within a few weeks after the stem cell injection. There are no reports of substantial side effects.
The patient suffered sustained, non-penetrating spinal cord injury several weeks before stem cell implantation, in many cases due to falls or mild trauma. Their symptoms include loss of motor function and coordination, loss of feeling, and bowel and bladder dysfunction. Stem cells are prepared from the patient’s own bone marrow through a culture program that spends several weeks in a specialized cell processing center. With this series of intravenous injection of cells, each patient served as their own control. The results were not blind and there was no placebo control.
The senior authors of the study are Jeffery D. Kocsis, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Yale University, and Stephen G. Waxman, professor of neurology, neuroscience, and pharmacology. The study was conducted by researchers at Sapporo Medical University in Japan. The main researchers of the Sapporo team, Osamu Honmou and Masanori Sasaki, are both associate professors of neurology at Yale University.
Kocsis and Waxman emphasized that further research is needed to confirm the results of this preliminary unblinded trial. They also emphasized that this may take several years. Despite the challenges, they remain optimistic.
“The similar results of stem cells in stroke patients strengthened our confidence in the clinical application of this method,”
“Waxman said: “The idea that we can use patients’ own stem cells to restore function after brain and spinal cord injuries has aroused our interest.” “Now, in humans, this is possible.”