The future of spinal cord injury treatment will most likely include injection or implantation of stem cells in countries where such therapy is legal and available. A recently concluded study conducted by researchers with the company Histostem demonstrated the efficacy of using stem cells to treat acute spinal cord injuries in dogs, according to a CNN article.
Previous research on using stem cells for spinal cord injuries focused on rat models. The current study made use of dogs, which have a spinal cord much more similar to humans. Dr. Hoon Han, President and Founder of Histostem, in conjunction with Konkuk University’s Departments of Veterinary Surgery and Veterinary Anatomy in Seoul, Korea ‘presented a method for the percutaneous transplantation of stem cells and investigated the therapeutic efficacy of transplanting stem cells to improve the recovery of the central nervous system following such acute spinal cord injury,’ according to CNN.
The dogs that received the novel stem cell treatment, which made use of Multipotent Stem Cells (MSC) derived from blood taken from human umbilical cords, ‘exhibited gradual improvement in hind limb locomotion two to three weeks after the transplant and also demonstrated reduced cyst and injury size,’ CNN reported.
The scientists involved in the study expressed excitement that the treatment would likely translate to human patients. The study, published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery, accomplished another potent step toward making stem cell transplantation a viable and effective treatment option for acute spinal cord injury survivors.
Dr. Han told CNN, ‘Based on the successful results of this study and because of the canine spinal cord’s resemblance to a human spinal cord, we are optimistic that this technique has many potential applications in the treatment of human spinal cord injury through stem cell transplantation.’ In a relatively short time, research into human models might prove to accomplish a quantum leap in spinal cord injury treatment.
Garza, M.E. (February 9, 2010) ‘Updates for PPD (Nasdaw:PPDI), Repros Therapeutics (Nasdaq:RPRX), Stem Cell Therapy (OTC:SCII)’ Retrieved on February 12, 2010 from theAmerican Chronicle Web site: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/140756
Stark, David. (February 8, 2010) ‘Histostem Participates in Successful Stem Cell Treatment for Acute Spinal Cord Injury in Dogs.’ Retrieved on February 12, 2010 from the CNN Money Web site: http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0584868.htm