Study shows promise for stem cell injections treating spina bifida — 5 things to knows

Written by Alan Condon | August 14, 2019 | Print  |

A study published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine found that an injection of human amniotic fluid stem cells can be used to protect the spinal cord of a fetus from myelomeningocele.

Five things to know:

1. Myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spinal bifida, is a birth defect that affects 1 in every 4,000 children in the U.S.

2. Researchers induced 116 pregnant rats with fetal myelomeningocele and injected human amniotic fluid stem cells in each of their amniotic cavities.

3. The hAFSCs mitigated to the lesions and covered the spinal cords as well as releasing hepatocyte growth factor to protect neural elements and promote neural regeneration.

4. The study showed that in utero therapy with hAFSCs may be effective in treating fetal myelomeningocele.

5. Author of the study Yushi Abe, MD, of Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo aims to start research for human clinical application.

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