Stem Cell Treatment Can Treat Spinal Cord Injury

Stem cell treatment is a potential treatment for spinal cord injury, and a variety of different stem cell types have been evaluated in animal models and humans with spinal cord injury. In fact, stem cell treatment has already been successfully used in spinal cord injury. Here are some examples.

First, Korean researchers reported on November 25, 2003, that they had successfully transplanted multipotent adult stem cells from umbilical cord blood to a patient who suffered from a spinal cord injury, and then she could walk on her own without difficulty. The patient had not been able to stand up for nearly 19 years. For the unprecedented clinical test, the scientists isolated adult stem cells from umbilical cord blood and then injected them into the damaged part of the spinal cord. It showed that stem cell treatment can be adopted in the treatment of spinal cord injury.

Second, according to the October 7, 2005 issue of The Week, University of California, Irvine researchers used the method of stem cell treatment to transplant multipotent human fetal-derived neural stem cells into paralyzed mice, resulting in locomotor improvements four months later. The observed recovery was associated with differentiation of transplanted cells into new neurons and oligodendrocytes- the latter of which forms the myelin sheath around axons of the central nervous system, thus insulating neural impulses and facilitating communication with the brain.

Third, in January 2005, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison differentiated human blastocyst stem cells into neural stem cells, then into pre-mature motor neurons, and finally into spinal motor neurons, the cell type that, in the human body, transmits messages from the brain to the spinal cord and subsequently mediates motor function in the periphery. The newly generated motor neurons exhibited electrical activity, the signature action of neurons.

From the above examples we can see that stem cell treatment have been used in animal models and humans with spinal cord injury, and the results are pleasing. So, we have every reason to believe that stem cell treatment has a bright future.

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