Spinal cord injury patients improve after stem cell injection, Yale study finds

Carly Behm -   Print  |

Patients injected with stem cells derived from their own bone marrow saw improvement in motor functions after spinal cord injuries, a study from New Haven, Conn.-based Yale University found.

Thirteen patients with non-penetrating spinal cord injuries received an intravenous injection of their stem cells. More than half of them had significant improvements in key motor functions, and no major side effects were reported.

Jeffery Kocsis, PhD, and Stephen Waxman, MD, PhD, were the senior authors of the study, published Feb. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. Adjunct neurology professors Osamu Honmou, MD, PhD, and Masanori Sasaki, MD, PhD, were key investigators, and the study was carried out at Sapporo Medical University in Japan.

Additional studies will be needed to confirm the results, according to a Feb. 22 report from Yale. However, Dr. Kocsis and Dr. Waxman are optimistic.

"The idea that we may be able to restore function after injury to the brain and spinal cord using the patient's own stem cells has intrigued us for years," Dr. Waxman said. "Now we have a hint, in humans, that it may be possible."

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