Despite advancements in treating spinal cord injuries in recent years, the focus has remained on supportive care. However, stem cell therapy may offer a potential option in restoring function and hope for spinal cord injury sufferers.
Spinal Cord Injuries
More than 17,000 Americans suffer from spinal cord injuries a year. Common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Acts of violence
- Sports injuries
- Disk degeneration
A spinal cord injury includes damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent changes in strength, sensation, and other body functions below the injury site.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a form of regenerative medicine non-invasive treatment that aims to replace and repair damaged cells within the body. Stem cells serve as the building blocks of cells. All cells with specialized functions in the body, like brain cells, blood cells, and muscle cells start from stem cells.
In the right environment, stem cells divide to either become more stem cells or specialized cells.
How Can Stem Cells Treat Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries are exceedingly complex, and past treatment options for patients who sustained spinal cord injuries were limited to rehabilitative, occupational, and physical therapy.
With no means to reverse damage to the spinal cord, these treatments focus instead on living with the loss of movement and sensation in the affected areas.
However, in a recent study, bone-marrow-derived stem cells injected into patients with spinal cord injuries resulted in significant improvement in motor functions. These improvements included the patients’ ability to walk or use their hands.
Twelve patients in the thirteen-patient study showed marked improvement in their sensory or motor functions, and no patients experienced substantial side effects.
In addition, stem cell therapy was administered via intravenous infusion, making the process less risky and invasive for patients.
What’s Next for Stem Cell Therapy and Spinal Cord Injuries?
It’s still too early to make any grand claims about stem cell therapy for treating spinal cord injuries. However, continued research in understanding stem cell therapy’s safety, tolerability, and potential offers hope for treating spinal cord injuries previously deemed irreversible.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for spinal stenosis, also known as stem cell for spinal stenosis. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.