With the recent increasing approach of stem cells therapy, it is possible to treat many degenerative conditions, such as spinal cord injury; for which conventional medicines had no cure. In this regard, stem cells therapy has been referred to as an alternative therapeutic approach; targeting at the regeneration of lost cells, like axons in case of spinal cord injury that has been damaged due to accident or other traumatic injury. Clinical evidences have suggested that stem cells therapy has helped many spinal cord injury patients to regain back lost sensation to some extent and eliminate pain.
Stem cells are body’s proactive cells that have been primarily involved in natural repairing as well as regeneration of cells; which are lost due to routine wear and tear of the body. The approach of repairing spinal cord injuries with the allogenic applications of mesenchymal stem cells goes beyond any conventional techniques, including surgery to help victim regain back some or all the lost functions. Studies have as well confirmed effective symptomatic management of spinal cord injuries with respect to pain, movement, bladder control, etc. The treatment benefits that have been reported so far post stem cells treatment on spinal cord injury patients are:
- Effective elimination of chronic pain and cramps
- Better movement
- Better control over bladder as well as bowel movement
- Reduced muscular tension, delayed muscular atrophy due to increased muscular strength
- Improved motor functions
- Improved sexual functions
The treatment is being offered through umbilical cord tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells, which have been extracted and expanded under controlled conditions. Stringent procedures and protocols are maintained for their scaling up and enrichment, as per the regulatory guidelines. These stem cells are infused intra-thecaly via lumbar puncture. The stem cells are expected to repopulate at the damaged areas of the spinal cord, modulate the intrinsic immune system, exhibit a potent anti-inflammatory effect and create a better microenvironment for speedy regeneration of lost cells.
Multiple studies have been undertaken globally for the risk assessment and feasibility analysis of treating patients of spinal cord injury with stem cells therapy. It has been exhibited that stem cells treatments are accountable for 25-30% of the average post treatment performances related to sensory as well as motor outcomes. The data as well supports the fact that the degree of effective outcome is related to the administration of large number of viable stem cells; suggesting a plausible underlying biological effect. The meta-analysis further reveals some interesting facts, which should be noted that the effective treatment outcome is quite biased with the age, sex, severity of injury and type of injury; and thus demands further investigation.
Although research is still going about improvement in effective utilization of stem cells therapy; but current clinical findings indeed seem to confer better statistical improvements in terms of better restoration of sensory as well as motor functions and promising treatment outcomes in many spinal cord injury patients.