Study Finds Stem Cell Therapy Beneficial For People With Spinal Cord Injury

A study conducted by Mayo Clinic found that stem cells that are derived from a patient’s own fat are safe for treatment for people suffering from hard-to-treat traumatic spinal cord injuries. These stem cells may also help in improving sensation and movement for people living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
Study Finds Stem Cell Therapy Beneficial For People With Spinal Cord Injury

Stem Cell Therapy Beneficial For People With Spinal Cord Injury

Stem cell therapy is considered to be a safe option for people suffering from several hard-to-treat diseases. The results from phase 1 of clinical trials found that stem cell therapy can be a safe treatment option for people suffering from hard-to-treat traumatic spinal cord injuries. The results of the clinical trial conducted by Mayo Clinic were published on Monday.
The study found that stem cells that are derived from a patient’s own fat are safe. These stem cells may also help in improving sensation and movement for people living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
Mohamad Bydon, a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic said, “This study documents the safety and potential benefit of stem cells and regenerative medicine.”
Stem cells are the cells from which all other cells with specialised functions are made. These cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells. The daughter cells either become new stem cells, known as self-renewal or become specialised cells, known as differentiation with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
Stem cell therapy is used for its ability to regenerate and repair tissues that have been affected by various conditions, from injuries to chronic diseases. Stem cells have the unique ability to differentiate into various cell types, making them invaluable in treating conditions like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injuries, and heart disease, among others. By replacing damaged cells with healthy ones, stem cell therapy can improve symptoms, offer relief from pain, and, in some cases, provide cures where conventional treatments tend to fail.
The study which will appear in the journal Nature Communications, included 10 adults. Of the 10 people, seven of them showed improvements based on the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale. Mayo Clinic says that these improvements included increased sensation when tested with pinprick and light touch, increased strength in muscle motor groups, and recovery of voluntary anal contraction, which aids in bowel function.
The other three patients did not show any response which means that they did not improve but their condition also did not get worse. Also, no participant showed any adverse complications after the treatment. However, some of the most commonly reported side effects were headaches and musculoskeletal pain that resolved with over-the-counter treatment.
The spinal cord has limited ability to repair its cells or make new ones, even a slight improvement can make a significant change in a patient’s quality of life.
Dr. Bydon said, “For years, treatment of spinal cord injury has been limited to supportive care, more specifically stabilisation surgery and physical therapy.
“Spinal cord injury is a complex condition. Future research may show whether stem cells in combination with other therapies could be part of a new paradigm of treatment to improve outcomes for patients”
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that nearly 2,50,000 and 5,00,000 people across the globe suffer from a spinal cord injury each year.
(With inputs from IANS)
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