Stem Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injuries. The results of a study at the Sapporo Medical University in Japan showed that bone marrow-derived stem cell therapy is safe and effective for treating spinal cord injuries.
Japan approves, the first commercially produced stem cell-based product, Stemilac injection, for treating spinal cord injuries.
Nipro and Sapporo Medical University jointly developed Stemilac which is the world’s first approved commercial product for stem cell therapy, available only at Sapporo Medical University in Sapporo, Japan.
“This is an unprecedented revolution in science and medicine, which will usher in a new era of healthcare,” says oncologist Masanori Fukushima, head of the Translational Research Informatics Center, a Japanese government organization in Kobe that has been providing advice and support to the project for over a decade.
In an open trial, researchers in Japan evaluated autologous bone marrow-derived stem cells in 13 patients who had experienced a severe spinal cord injury 1 month before treatment.
Stem Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injuries Results:
Firstly, twelve out of the 13 patients showed visible improvement: increased sensation and more significant movement of hands and feet. No serious adverse events were reported.
Six months after treatment, 12 out of the 13 patients improved by at least one grade on the American Spinal Injury Association’s disability scale, a globally recognized system that classifies people’s ability to contract muscles and maintain sensitivity.
As a result, the researchers involved believe that stem cells could repair spinal cord damage through various mechanisms. Some of these mechanisms include reducing inflammation, protecting existing neurons, and replacing damaged neurons.
How can stem cell therapy improve lost functions due to a spinal cord injury?
The aim of stem cell therapy is to replace lost and damaged neurons. Additionally:
- It modulates and improves the immune system response
- It eliminates cellular debris
- It limits secondary damage by protecting neurons and reducing inflammation
- It enhances angiogenesis
- It promotes healing by encouraging the cellular regeneration of endogenous stem cells.
- If administered shortly after the injury, stem cell therapy can limit initial degeneration.
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If you want to learn more about stem cells, visit our article Stem Cells and Their Applications.