In the race for a spinal cord injury cure, a United States based doctor and leading researcher Wise Young claims the non-profit organization China Spinal Cord Injury (ChinaSCINet) has had successful results in trials that utilized stem cell therapy for patients with SCI, according to an article released by The Times of India. The second set of trials conducted by Young, who is the chief executive officer of ChinaSCINet, and the organization used stem cells to regrow nerve fibers in order to give immobile patients the ability to walk again.
According to Young, 15 out of the 20 patients who were treated with umbilical cord blood cell transplants and intensive walking therapy were able to walk with minimal assistance seven years on average after a complete SCI. The trials featured treatment involving the injection of umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells into a patient’s damaged spine to help regenerate nerves, and lithium was also used to promote the growth of the nerve fibers.
Despite the positive news from ChinaSCINet, much controversy surrounds the use of stem cell treatment in the United States. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, researchers are eagerly studying the potential of several cell types, including stem cells, for SCI. Stem cells are able to develop into many different cell types in the body, and can be induced to become organ or tissue-specific with special functions.
ChinaSCINet has applied for regulatory approval in China for the final phase of the tests. The third phase will involve 120 patients from China and another 120 from India, Norway and the United States. ChinaSCINet was established as a non-profit organization for spinal cord injuries in Hong Kong in 2005.