Spinal cord injuries, resulting in permanent disability or paralysis in most cases, account for around eleven thousand new cases in the US, annually. Due to the lack of effective treatment strategies, it is considered as the most devastating of all traumatic conditions. Now, a recent study published in the journal Stem Cells reports that activation of ependymal stem/progenitor cells from injured spinal cord (epSPCi), using endogenous stem cell-associated mechanisms, may aid in rescuing neurological function, thereby reversing paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries.
Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings led the pre-clinical studies for the neural stem cell treatment
A therapy developed by Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings of UC Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center in collaboration with researchers at StemCells Inc. will be the basis of the world’s first clinical trial using human neural stem cells to treat spinal cord injury.
Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory agency for therapeutic products, has authorized a Phase I/II clinical trial for chronic spinal cord injury, cases in which inflammation has stabilized and recovery has reached a
Dr. Donald Leslie, medical director at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, has high hopes.
“We want to cure paralysis,” he said. “We want to stop spinal cord injury. How incredible would that be?”
Leslie’s mission has begun with T.J. Atchinson, the first step in research that he believes could lead to many steps for those who were told they would never walk again. Atchinson, 21, was the first human with a spinal cord injury to undergo embryonic stem cell therapy.
The athletic college student’s life took a hard turn in September when he was home from the University of Alabama visiting his