Stem Cell Treatments Provide Hope for Spinal Cord Injuries
If you have had any kind of injury, someone might have tried to talk to you about the possibility of stem cell treatments. The use of stem cells is providing safe and effective treatments for many people. Now, those with spinal cord injuries might be added to that list.
There are millions of people who suffer from chronic spinal cord injuries. Currently, there is no cure, but there are treatment options. However, some spinal cord injuries may leave people paralyzed. There are some other issues that may also be associated with these injuries, like urinary tract infections, paralysis, respiratory issues, and depression.
The spinal cord is made up of a bundle of cords that go down the middle of the back. These nerves send signals to and from the body and brain. If the spinal cord becomes injured, it can disrupt these signals. Many spinal cord injuries are caused by a blow that fractures or dislocates the vertebrae. Many of these injuries don’t cut through the spinal cord, but when pieces of the vertebrae tear into the tissue or are pushed against the nerves, there is a problem.
Spinal cord injuries can be described as complete or incomplete. With a complete spinal cord injury, you are often left paralyzed from the injury and below. This is because the cord can’t send the signals to the lower parts of the body. With an incomplete injury, the spinal cord is only partially severed. You should be able to have movement and sensation below the area of injury. The degree of function ultimately depends on the severity of the injury.
Why stem cells?
Currently, most post-accident care of spinal cord injuries consists of physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other forms of rehabilitation techniques. Stem cells, however, has the ability to form into various types of cells and continuously replicate themselves – which may help rebuild cells needed to repair the damage from spinal cord injuries. Stem cells also stem for the patient’s very own body, so they are natural.
What are recent studies showing?
Stem cell treatments for spinal cord injuries are fairly new, but the results are promising.
One study was conducted by Nipro, medical equipment manufacturer. They conducted a trial on 30 patients between 20 and 64 years old. Within 54 days after the injury, bone marrow fluid and mesenchymal stem cells were extracted from the patients. After the fluid was properly prepared, it was re-injected into the patients. The study proved the stem cells identified and gathered together in the injured areas of the spinal cord and even regenerated tissue. Now, Nipro is trying to register the treatment for regenerative medicine.
Another study took place in two different locations in Salvador, Brazil. 14 patients with spinal cord injuries participated in the study. Before the study, all of the patients had no motor or sensory function below the waist. After the treatments, each patient regained the ability to feel touch and some even regained a little bit of movement in their legs.
The University of California San Diego is currently holding clinical trials, being led by Dr. Joseph Ciacci. After the first phase of the trials, they received the green light to continue and increase the number of cells that will be transplanted to boost its effectiveness. There were 4 participants in the study, and they were treated with neural stem cells into the spinal cord. Each of the patients had complete loss of sensor and motor functions below the point of the injury. The cells showed signs of integrating with the surrounding tissue. The study is currently looking for more participants to take part in the second phase of the trial.
Although there is no guarantee, there is a lot of progress that has been made to find a cure. Stem cell therapy is providing hope for those who have suffered spinal cord injuries.
The Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas in San Antonio, Texas
If you are interested to learn if you are a good candidate to receive stem cell treatments, visit the Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas! Stem cell therapy continues to help more and more people manage or end their pain. Our goal is to help you live pain-free, as well. To book an appointment with one of our doctors, please call our office at (210) 293-3136.