Stem Cell Transplantation for Spinal Cord Injuries …

By Dr. Matthew Watson

In terms of scientific advances, the discovery and use of Stem Cells to treat disease and injury, rank as critical milestones in the field of Medicine.

If any single medical advancement can be said to be revolutionary then it is Regenerative Medicine and the use of Stem Cells. Stem Cells in their most basic form are undifferentiated and have the ability to differentiate into any type of specialised cell.

Stem Cell Therapy is used as a repair system for the body that has been affected by either disease or injury. Stem Cell Transplantation for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) patients has the potential to forever change how SCIs are viewed and how future interventions will be handled.

The greater majority of Spinal Cord Injuries are particularly harrowing since they happen without warning. Most are the result of motor vehicle accidents, physical assaults, industrial accidents and falls. It takes literally less than a second for one to move from an able-bodied state to partial or complete paralysis.

The use of walking aids such as crutches and walking frames played an important role in helping patients with incomplete SCIs to move around, however, we are already at a point where medical advancement has provided effective long term solutions where the source of treatments is within the human body itself.

Recent trials have compared the effects of Stem Cell Transplantation to those of Rehabilitation Treatment for patients with SCI. These studies involved 377 patients grouped into 10 randomised controlled trials. Some patients received only Stem Cell Therapy while others had the Stem Cell Transplantation combined with Rehabilitation Therapy. Observable developments were recorded in different areas: neurological function (sensory and locomotor functions), urination function, daily living activities and the appearance of any side effects.

The studies concluded that Stem Cell Therapy is a safe and efficient treatment for SCI. The primary action of the therapy, which was to produce measurable changes in the spinal cord, turned out positive. As a result of the Stem Cell Therapy spinal cord repair was apparent. Further,axon remyelination (or resheathing of denuded nerve cells) was observed. It was further determined that Stem Cell Therapy improved sensory and bladder functions.

Whereas a Spinal Cord Injury once meant a life sentence in a wheelchair, the advent of stem cells is bound to change this narrative. Through the use of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs), SCIs are now firmly within the scope of treatable conditions. MSCs are particularly effective in the treatment and management of SCIs as they are also able to regulate the immune systems reaction to the injury. Equally important, MSCs also have the capability to differentiate cell types including astrocytes (which are glial cells of the central nervous system) and neurons, which are responsible for transmitting nerve impulses.

A comprehensive treatment protocol that includes Stem Cell Therapy and supportive therapies such as Aquatic Therapy, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Occupational Therapy and others, as determined by the doctor, produces quantifiable results in various areas. Improvement is observable in balance, coordination and motor function, sensation, bowel and bladder control and sexual function. Other areas of improvement include a lessening of neuropathic pain and an increase in strength and improved muscle mass, among others.

To learn more about our Stem Cell Treatments, do get in touch and a patient representative shall guide you at your earliest convenience.

H/T:National Center for Biotechnology Information

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