Tag: olfactory ensheathing cells
Scientists developing robust method to treat spinal cord injuries using nose cells
Researchers have designed a new way to grow nose cells in the lab heralding hope for sufferers of spinal cord injuries, including those who are wheelchair bound.
Griffith University’s Mr Mo Chen grew nose nerve cells in the lab, which can treat mice with spinal cord injuries.
There is currently no cure for spinal cord injury or treatment to help nerve regeneration so therapies offering intervention are limited. People with severe spinal cord injuries can remain paralysed for life and this is often accompanied by incontinence.
A team led by Drs Liang-Fong Wong and Nicolas Granger from Bristol’s Faculty of Health Sciences has successfully transplanted genetically modified cells that secrete a treatment molecule shown to be effective at removing the scar following spinal cord damage. The scar in the damaged spinal cord typically limits recovery by blocking nerve regrowth.
Controversy surrounds the link between Australian of the Year Alan Mackay Sim’s research and a Polish team who restored mobility for a paraplegic man.
For many people suffering from disabling conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, spinal injury and paralysis, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, heart disease, renal failure and even cancer, announcements in the press around breakthroughs in stem cell research undoubtedly bring hope.
The challenge remains how to accurately communicate what is genuinely possible in terms of therapies and what we scientists hope might be possible but do not yet have strong evidence for.
QUEENSLAND researchers are a step closer to human trials of a potential treatment for spinal cord injuries involving transplants of nasal cells combined with physiotherapy.
Griffith University neuroscientist James St John said he hoped to start a trial within three years on the research after receiving more than $250,000 in funding from the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation.
Dr St John said he had been in preliminary discussions with neurosurgeons and physiotherapists at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital but he needed $700,000 a year over three years before the trial could begin.
Spinal cord injuries are mostly caused by trauma, often incurred in road traffic or sporting incidents, often with devastating and irreversible consequences, and unfortunately having a relatively high prevalence (250,000 patients in the USA; 80% of cases are male). One currently explored approach to restoring function after spinal cord injury is the transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) into the damaged area. The hope is that these will encourage the repair of damaged neurons, but does it work? And if so, how can it be optimized?
Olfactory ensheathing cells for spinal cord repair: crucial differences between subpopulations of the glia
OECs for spinal cord repair: Is repairing the injured spinal cord by olfactory ensheathing cell (OEC) transplantation possible? A recent human trial in which a paralysed man regained some function after transplantation of partially purified OECs suggests that this therapy may be a successful approach (Tabakow et al., 2014). In another human trial in which olfactory mucosa lamina propria was transplanted, patients recovered some motor and sensory function (Wang et al., 2015).
Patients treated for spinal cord injury (SCI) using olfactory mucosa lamina propria (OLP) transplants demonstrated modest improvements, according to research published in Cell Transplantation.
A global team of researchers aimed to determine whether OLP transplants promote regeneration and functional recovery in chronic human SCI by randomizing 12 subjects to OLP transplants (8 patients) or control sham surgery (4 patients). The subjects were examined using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electromyography (EMG), urodynamic study (UDS), American Spinal Injury Association impairment scale (AIS), and other functional assessments. The researchers commented that high levels of nerve growth factor and neurotrpohic receptor expression are typically demonstrated by autologous olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs).
Three years after they treated patients with spinal cord injury in a randomized clinical trial with transplanted cells from the patients’ olfactory mucosa (nasal cavities) to build a ‘bridge’ to span the gap between the damaged ends of the spinal cord, researchers found that some recipients had experienced a range of modest improvements and determined that the use of olfactory mucosa lamina propria (OLP) transplants was ‘promising and safe.’