The patients with spinal cord trauma have a ray of hope

These are results of clinical experiments carried out by the specialists of Russian State Medical University and the Clinic of Rehabilitation Intervention Neurology and Therapy “NeuoVita”.

The experiment involved 67 patients of different ages with severe spinal cord injuries. The patients were divided into two groups. The ten patients to whom cellular therapy was contraindicated for different reasons formed a reference group. They only underwent rehabilitation. The rest of the patients, on top of rehabilitation, underwent at least two injections of their own hematopoietic stem cells. Before that they had received a course of injections of granulocytic colony-stimulating factor that ensured additional production of stem cells and their coming out of the marrow into blood vessels. The cells were collected at the blood separator, frozen and used as needed. Each patient was injected about 5 million cells into the vertebral column. The course was repeated to some patients.

The spinal cord trauma impacts both the work of the spinal marrow itself and that of the peripheral nervous system. Several years after the trauma, the nerves gradually degenerate and finally perish. Rehabilitation would not help in this case, the researchers made certain of that again by the example of the reference group, the state of which had not changed. The cellular therapy helped to a significant part of the patients (61 percent). Their muscle activity increased, movements and sensitivity intensified, pelvic organs’ function improved.

After the first cell transplantation, these changes were of minimal extent, however, the second transplantation supported by intensified rehabilitation has done its part. After the second injection of cells was perfomed, many of the 33 patients were able to stand on their knees and to move with the help of “go-carts”. It should be noted that they had not experienced the slightest improvement for several years.

The ecouraging clinical finding was confirmed by the electroneuromyography data that allows to assess quantitatively the muscle response to nervous stimulation. After cell transplantation, there was an increase of the muscle response amplitude to activation of motor nerve fibers of peripheral nerves. This data is an indirect evidence that cellular therapy promotes spinal cord regeneration. Having summarized the findings, physicians concluded that transplantation of the patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells is secure and efficient in conjunction with other treatment modes.

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