First-in-human clinical study found improved motor and sensory function in three of four participants
Writing in the June 1 issue of Cell Stem Cell, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that a first-in-human phase I clinical trial in which neural stem cells were transplanted into participants with chronic spinal cord injuries produced measurable improvement in three of four subjects, with no serious adverse effects.
Until World War II, people with spinal cord injuries had few treatment or rehabilitation options. And even today, spinal cord injuries can have catastrophic effects on everything from mobility to sensation, bladder, bowel and sexual function.
However, over the past 20 years, several breakthroughs in spinal cord repair and technology have emerged. No single breakthrough has achieved a full repair, but each has advanced our understanding of the complexities of spinal cord injuries. Here are ten of the most important advances in spinal cord injury repair.
GEORGINA Fiorentino thought her life was over when she lost feeling in her legs and became reliant on a wheelchair.
“You go through a whole process in your mind that it’s all too hard,” the Essendon North resident said.
“A lot of people have no idea the bits and pieces that follow on from a spinal injury.
“There are so many other things that are affected that are worse than not being able to walk.”
Riggs seeks to utilize muscle memory therapy
CEDAR CITY — September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month and one Cedar City man hopes to bring awareness to a condition he’s lived with for more than a decade.
When Jory Riggs was 18, a snow tubing accident at Woods Ranch, just east of Cedar City, left him a paraplegic. Since that time, he’s formed a new life for himself. He earned a degree in art from Southern Utah University and now, at age 30, he’s hoping to move beyond that label of paraplegic with the help of effective, though expensive, physical therapy — a move that has given him renewed hope about his future.
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to begin a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety of transplanting human Schwann cells to treat patients with recent spinal cord injuries.
We are not recruiting anybody until we obtain approval from our Institutional Review Board.
This trial is just 1 brick in the wall. We will continue working with our scientific colleagues to test other “bricks” in the wall to ultimately develop a strong defense to prevent or reverse the many effects of paralysis.
Northwestern Medicine is the first site open for enrollment in a national clinical research trial of a human embryonic stem cell-based therapy for participants with a subacute thoracic spinal cord injury. Following the procedure, participants will receive rehabilitation treatment at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).
Northwestern also is the lead site of the trial, sponsored by Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN). The trial eventually will include up to six other sites and enroll up to 10 participants nationally.