Stem cell therapy shows promise in treating spinal cord injuries, Canadian study
Source: Cantech letter
Spinal cord injuries are among the most dramatic and devastating of all injuries, in part because they stem from traumatic accidents but also because there are veryhttp://www.cantechletter.com/2017/03/stem-cell-therapy-shows-promise-treating-spinal-cord-injuries-canadian-study/ few treatment options.
While medical advances have been made in the areas of injury management and improved long-term functioning, for those dealing with spinal cord injuries the sad truth is that researchers have yet to come up with a cure for paralysis.
Victims of spinal cord injuries are left facing a lifelong disability, one that comes not only with a range of personal burdens but which also extracts its toll on the healthcare system — studies have shown that the lifetime economic burden of spinal cord injuries in Canada ranges between $1.5 to $3.0 million per individual.
Yet cell therapies represent one area of current research that appears likely to deliver positive results. According to a new study from researchers with the University Health Network and the University of Toronto, the neuroregenerative potential of this approach is promising.
Cell therapy, which in general refers to any procedure involving the implantation of cells, comes in different guises in spinal cord research, depending on the type of cells employed. Clinical research is already being performed using stem cells, which have the ability to self-renew and to differentiate into a variety of specialized cells, and glial cells, which support neural functioning.
The aim in both cases is to introduce the new cells so as to encourage regrowth of nerve fibres where they have been severed and thereby restore nerve function, a seemingly impossible task, since along with the structural damage caused by spinal cord injury comes a series of secondary events such as scarring and inflammation which, although normal bodily repair processes, can effectively impede the chances at regrowth and reconnection of neural networks.