Study documents safety, improvements from stem cell therapy after spinal cord injury

From: Mayo Clinic News Network

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A Mayo Clinic study shows stem cells derived from patients’ own fat are safe and may improve sensation and movement after traumatic spinal cord injuries. The findings from the phase 1 clinical trial appear in Nature Communications. The results of this early research offer insights on the potential of cell therapy for people living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis for whom options to improve function are extremely limited.

In the study of 10 adults, the research team noted seven participants demonstrated improvements based on the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale. Improvements included increased sensation when tested with pinprick and light touch, increased strength in muscle motor groups, and recovery of voluntary anal contraction, which aids in bowel function. The scale has five levels, ranging from complete loss of function to normal function. The seven participants who improved each moved up at least one level on the ASIA scale. Three patients in the study had no response, meaning they did not improve but did not get worse.
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