There are approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries in the United States each year (according to a publication by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center).
So, it is easy to see that the ongoing research for SCI and restoring motor function after injury is important.
And, one new clinical study is hoping to have enough participants to begin a trial using stem cells as a treatment option.
Possibilities Using Stem Cells
This new clinical trial is being set by researchers at the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine. Their goal for the trial is to determine the safety of the procedure and the long and short term effects of their method.
Other studies have shown SCI patients were able to restore limited leg function through the use of electrical shock, so the trial researchers are looking for a more permanent solution.
They will do this by surgically implanting stem cells into the injury site, have participants go through physical therapy, and measure motor functions of the legs, bladder, etc. over a period of time. Additionally, they will use MRI testing to measure how many stem cells remained intact.
The Neuralstem Trial
In preclinical experiments, the findings were that neural stem cell lines will integrate with hot tissue to create new nerve pathways, and ideally restore motor function lost as a result of the injury.
Because the initial stem cell experiments with animals responded the best with the newest injuries, the trial is limited to patients that are only one to two years post spinal cord injury.
What do you think the outlook is for trials such as this? Do you think we’re getting closer to finding permanent treatments for spinal cord injuries and other diseases that take away motor functions? Comment below to join the conversation!