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Timing for clinical trials for stem cell therapy in spinal cord injuries is right
Date:10/18/2011

Regenerative medicine in spinal cord injuries (SCI) is proving to help the human body create new cell and nerve connections that are severed during this type of injury. In a review of current scientific research for stem cell treatment in SCI published this month in the Springer journal Neurotheraputics, Dr. Michael Fehlings and Dr. Reaz Vawda from the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, Toronto Western Hospital in Ontario, Canada, provide evidence that supports researchers moving beyond the lab to conduct human clinical trials for stem cells.

Spinal cord injuries remain one of the most difficult conditions to overcome. Despite the advances made in surgical interventions, drugs and rehabilitation programs, the cascade of damage that ultimately affects the body at the cellular level cannot be reversed.

Stem cell research brings tremendous hope to those who remain paralyzed after such a devastating injury. But according to Dr. Fehlings, patients are not able to realize the potential benefits of stem cell therapy because research is largely stuck in the laboratory.

"With the exception of a few clinical trials, current research is stalled at the animal model stage," said Dr. Fehlings. "Scientists from around the world have demonstrated as much as they can in lab models that stem cells have an impact on spinal cord injuries and can be transplanted into patients. Now we need the support and coordination of regulatory bodies to move this science forward."

The study critically evaluates 11 different cell types/sources and the evidence justifying their use. For example, BMSCs (Bone marrow stromal cells ) have an established safety record, as well as a beneficial effect after thoracic SCI. Glial restricted progenitors (GRPs) and oligodendrocytic progenitors (OPCs) are described to have a track record that favours the continuation of more clinical trials and Neural Progenitor Cells (NPC), of which one line of immortalized foetal NPCs
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Contact: Nadia Daniell-Colarossi
nadia.daniell-colarossi@uhn.ca
416-603-5194
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

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