Stem cell therapy has been used for a number of treatments in the last decade, and clinical trials are always ongoing to find new ways to use stem cells. One of the ways that stem cells have been used is in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. Doctors and researchers have had a lot of success in treating a variety of spinal cord injuries and disorders with stem cells, and new trials are showing that these treatments could become even more effective.
Previous Trials and Methods
Up to this point, spinal cord injuries have been treated with stem cells harvested from umbilical cords donated by mothers who had a healthy live birth. These umbilical cords are processed and held to the same standards as blood banks. Stem cells are harvested from the umbilical cord and injected into the body to treat the spinal cord injury.
The biggest problem with this type of stem cell therapy is that the stem cells are from a foreign body. This means that immunosuppressant drugs are necessary for the stem cells to be able to survive and graft onto the spinal cord in order to heal the injury. Immunosuppressant drugs can have some serious side effects, as well as making the patient more susceptible to illness.
New Clinical Trials and Methods
In new clinical trials completed last year, scientists have found that they can harvest stem cells from the patient’s own skin cells. These stem cells are extracted from the skin cells and reprogrammed to become neural processor cells, which eventually become nerve cells. These nerve cells that grow in the spinal cord can repair the nerve damage done in a spinal cord injury.
If you are interested in learning more about stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries, browse our site or contact a participating doctor today.