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The Role of Stem Cells in Spinal Injury rehabilitation

A study conducted recently in the United States has offered insight into potential breakthroughs for those affected by traumatic spinal cord injury.

The trial involved implanting stem cells into individuals with tetraplegia, then monitoring movement and functionality over the proceeding weeks and months. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, means those affected are unable to use their arms and legs.

This is often caused by traumatic spinal cord injury, affecting signals from the brain to all four limbs. In many cases, the limbs themselves are physically unaffected, but a traumatic spinal cord injury can prevent cognitive signals from controlling them.

The Trial

The stem cells were implanted directly into the site of the spinal cord injury, within a month of the injury occurring. Following a twelve week monitoring process, all the individuals involved experienced an improvement in their upper body mobility, with one person regaining the ability in their arms and hands.

Although the study only involved five individuals, the findings are very interesting when looked at in the context of spinal injury rehabilitation. Given the short timescale given to the study and the relative success of its outcomes, the need to treat spinal injuries promptly is very much apparent. In addition, the positive results shown in what was a small study should pave the way for further investment in this area, hopefully leading to wider studies involving more individuals, at various stages of spinal injury rehabilitation.

Stem Cells

Stem cells are being used in various studies for various medical conditions, given their ability to change themselves into a variety of other cells once in a person’s body. In many cases they are able to repair tissues, splitting into further cells with a dedicated function.

The study was conducted by Asterias Biotherapeutics, a company dedicated to regenerative medicine. Asterias are due to announce further results from the study in January 2017, six months after the trial began.

Serious Injury in the North East

TLW’s spinal injury solicitors have a local heritage, providing specialist legal services to people for over 15 years in the region. With extensive training, we work alongside experienced care and spinal injury rehabilitation specialists to ensure our personal injury clients receive the very best professional advice and are able to access the support they require following spinal injury compensation.

For more information on the types of spinal injury, please see our infographic.

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