When someone sustains a spinal cord injury, they may believe there is little to be done in terms of treatment. In the past, treating spinal cord trauma has been focused on providing support to the patient and accommodating any limited capabilities caused by the injury. Treating spinal cord injuries often involves mobility aids, physical therapy, and daily medications. While these are all essential aspects of spinal trauma care, they do not make any significant improvement to the injury itself.
The Latest Research
New research shows that future treatment of spinal cord injuries could actually focus on resolving the symptoms caused by the injury and restoring certain functions within the spinal cord itself. A recent clinical study shows that there could potentially be a treatment for these kinds of injuries after all. A clinical trial out of Mayo Clinic has taken a look at the effect of regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, on patients with spinal cord injuries, and the results were promising.
The clinical trial, known as CELLTOP, used intrathecal injections of autologous adipose-derived stem cells to treat patients with traumatic or severe spinal cord damage. They found that when patients received these stem cells, they saw an improvement in certain symptoms associated with their spinal cord injury. This included motor and sensory function, with increased strength in fine muscle movement.
One patient in these trials who had sustained a grade A cervical spine injury was treated with stem cell therapy and saw an improvement in motor and sensory function. Another patient experienced an increase in their fine motor skills, with an improved ability to grip and pinch with his fingers.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work to Improve Spinal Cord Injuries?
While clinical trials are still continuing, research shows the potential link between stem cells and spinal cord trauma. It may be found in how stem cells interact within the spinal cord microenvironment. In these clinical trials, stem cell therapy has been shown to potentially reverse the microenvironment and resolve certain symptoms of spinal cord injury.
When a spinal cord injury occurs, it results in complex pathophysiology. After the initial injury, there are microenvironmental changes that inhibit axonal regeneration. Stem cells can help reduce trophic support to an injured spinal cord’s microenvironment. This modulates the inflammatory response and suppresses cystic changes.
While many spinal cord injuries are still considered traumatic and severe, these CELLTOP clinical trials show promising treatment options in the future. Mayo Clinic is currently continuing this research to find how stem cell therapy can further benefit patients with spinal cord injuries. To learn more about how regenerative medicine can help spinal cord injuries, contact a care coordinator at Stemedix today!