The University of California, Irvine, has just completed the very first study to show that human stem cells can bring back movement in spinal cord injury, advocating the possibility of treatment for a more vast populace of patients.
Past breakthroughs in stem cell studies concentrated on the vital or beginning stage of spinal cord injury, a time span of up to a couple of weeks after the onset of the trauma when medications can bring about some mobile recovery.
IRVINE — A UC Irvine study is the first to demonstrate that human neural stem cells can restore mobility in cases of chronic spinal cord injury, suggesting the prospect of treating a much broader population of patients.
Previous breakthrough stem cell studies have focused on the acute, or early, phase of spinal cord injury, a period of up to a few weeks after the initial trauma when drug treatments can lead to some functional recovery.
BOSTON, Aug. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Researchers for the first time have induced robust regeneration of nerve tissue connections in injured adult spinal cord sites that control voluntary movement. These findings provide hope that it may be possible to design therapies for paralysis and other impairments of motor function arising from spinal cord injury.
New study says a multidisciplinary approach is most likely to achieve results
Although new developments in the management of spinal cord injuries (SCI) are on the horizon, any eventual cure for the condition is more likely to involve a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from expertise in several fields, according to a review article published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).
Cervical myelopathy is a disorder most commonly seen in the elderly population due to spondylosis with resultant cord compression.1 There are many causes of myelopathy that include trauma, tumors, infection, vascular disease, degenerative conditions and demyelinating disorders.9 Myelopathy can be seen in younger patients when central disc herniations compress the spinal cord.1 Most typically, however, there are osteophytic changes and ligament thickening makes the canal stenotic. Patients will most typically present with weakness and clumsiness of the hands, paresthesias in the hand and gait disturbances.
An injury to the spinal cord could result in a catastrophic permanent disability to the patient. Approximately 10,000 new cases of spinal cord injury (SCI) occur each year in the United States with most occurring in men between the ages of 16 and 30. The etiology of the majority of cases is associated with motor vehicle crashes followed by penetrating trauma; falls, especially in the elderly; and sports and recreational activities. Elderly patients are more prone to suffering from SCI from minor trauma due to degenerative vertebral disorders. In addition, elderly patients have become more active over the years; thus, the incidence of SCI in the elderly is on the rise.
Dalhousie Medical School researchers have discovered that embryonic stem cells may play a critical role in helping people with nerve damage and Motor Neuron diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), regain muscular strength.
Motor neurons reside in the spinal cord and control limb movements by enabling muscles to contract. Diseases like ALS cause them to degenerate, resulting in muscle weakness, Atrophy, and eventual paralysis.
An Irvine company could be the first to win federal approval for clinical trials.
A tiny start-up company in Irvine has a shot at becoming the first to gain federal approval to test an embryonic stem cell treatment in humans.
Two degenerative nerve diseases are the first targets for California Stem Cell Inc.’s therapies. They are ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which kills adults, and SMA, a fatal disease affecting newborns.
The company hopes to win Food and Drug Administration approval next year to begin clinical trials for both sets of patients.
Scientists say difficulty lies in extrapolating animal data to humans
Washington—Research on traumatic spinal cord injuries is hampered by a reliance on animal experiments that don’t accurately predict human outcomes, says a new study in the upcoming edition of the peer-reviewed journal Reviews in the Neurosciences. The review was written by scientists with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
“Despite decades of animal experiments, we still don’t have a drug to cure spinal cord injury in humans,” says Aysha Akhtar, a neurologist with PCRM and the lead author. “According to the Journal of the American Paraplegic Society, at least 22 agents were found to improve spinal cord injury in animals, but not one of these was helpful in humans,” says Dr. Akhtar.
This may seem to be silly question but, until people get spinal cord injury or know somebody who is, most pay little attention to their spinal cords. Most people don’t know the different parts of the spinal cord, what each part does, and how the spinal cord transmits sensory and motor information. Many think that the spinal cord conducts information like a telephone wire and the spinal cord can be fixed by reconnecting it. Some people mistakenly believe that the spinal cord is the vertebral column. While almost everybody knows that spinal cord injury causes paralysis, many are not aware that the spinal cord also controls the bladder and bowel, sexual function, blood pressure, skin blood flow, sweating, and temperature regulation.