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Spinal Cord Research Moves Forward

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  • Spinal Cord Research Moves Forward

    Spinal Cord Research Moves Forward
    Feb. 21, 2002 (Ivanhoe Newswire) --

    Researchers in New Jersey say they've made a step in the right direction toward finding a way to return mobility after spinal cord injury. Ira Black, M.D., and colleagues from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, are seeing positive results in animal studies that examine stem cells to create new nerve cells.

    The early results, which have not yet been published, are encouraging, said Dr. Black in an interview with Ivanhoe Broadcast News. In 2000, researchers announced success in the laboratory using stem cells from bone marrow to create new nerve cells. At the time researchers found that in minutes to hours they could see the conversion and even saw the beginning of connectional networks between neurons. In more recent studies, Dr. Black and colleagues injected the newly created nerve cells into the spinal cords of rats that have been injured as well as those that were uninjured.

    In the uninjured rats, they found the implanted cells survived for at least a few months, extended the process, and appeared to integrate into the spinal cord without causing inflammation. This means, says Dr. Black, that there is no pathological change induced when the new cells are introduced. As for the research in the injured rats, while the results will not be known for a few months, Dr. Black says they do know that no negative effects have been noted at this point.

    The hope is that eventually a patient's own bone marrow stem cells will be used to create new nerve cells. This will hopefully eliminate the risk of rejection or the need for toxic agents to prevent rejection.

    In addition to this work, Dr. Black says they are working to better understand the genetic mechanism that takes place to convert bone marrow stem cells to nerve cells and how the conversion can be done in animals.

    SOURCE: Ivanhoe Health Correspondent Liz Rosenblum's interview with Ira Black, M.D., Feb. 19, 2002

  • #2

    I saw a TV show on Discovery Health about injecting stem cells into paralyzed rats...and they recovered a lot of function. Why don't they try it in humans... enough rats have been treated... or is there a problem?

    "Each moment in time we have it all, even when we think we don't."
    --Melody Beattie, writer and counselor
    Emily, C-8 sensory incomplete mom to a 8 year old and a preschooler. TEN! years post.


    • #3

      Currently you can get stem cells in Russia, although I have no idea of the effectiveness of their procedure.

      And Diacrin is doing a clinical trial with porcine [pig] stem cells right now.

      ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
      ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~


      • #4
        Marrow Stromal Cells

        I don't know if Marrow Stromal Cells are stem cells but I know that Select Therapeutics has an MSC program. Supposedly, there's a product in development named TransNew. I sent them e-mail but I never got a response. Supposedly, they are collaborating with MCP Hahnemann where there is a small project underway. I've learned from a reliable source that there are groups who would like to advance the research quickly into higher mammals including humans. I guess Marrow Stromal Cells remyelinate the spinal cord very effectively.

        I wish somebody could get more information out of Select Therapeutics.

        Allen Krupar
        e-mail: petition(NO SPAM)
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        ~~See You On the Dark Side of the Moon

        Cleveland Rocks!!


        • #5
          Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2199-204

          Marrow stromal cells form guiding strands in the injured spinal cord and promote recovery.

          Hofstetter CP, Schwarz EJ, Hess D, Widenfalk J, El Manira A, Prockop DJ, Olson L.

          Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; and Center for Gene Therapy, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112.

          Marrow stromal cells (MSC) can be expanded rapidly in vitro and differentiated into multiple mesodermal cell types. In addition, differentiation into neuron-like cells expressing markers typical for mature neurons has been reported. To analyze whether such cells, exposed to differentiation media, could develop electrophysiological properties characteristic of neurons, we performed whole-cell recordings. Neuron-like MSC, however, lacked voltage-gated ion channels necessary for generation of action potentials. We then delivered MSC into the injured spinal cord to study the fate of transplanted MSC and possible effects on functional outcome in animals rendered paraplegic. MSC given 1 week after injury led to significantly larger numbers of surviving cells than immediate treatment and significant improvements of gait. Histology 5 weeks after spinal cord injury revealed that MSC were tightly associated with longitudinally arranged immature astrocytes and formed bundles bridging the epicenter of the injury. Robust bundles of neurofilament-positive fibers and some 5-hydroxytryptamine-positive fibers were found mainly at the interface between graft and scar tissue. MSC constitute an easily accessible, easily expandable source of cells that may prove useful in the establishment of spinal cord repair protocols.


          • #6

            You're echoing exactly what we are all screaming for - more clinical trials involving humans. Some of the main hurdles prohibiting this are, not in any particular order, efficacy, money, safety, liability, candidacy, morality, risk, etc. IMO, the big ones are money, safety, efficacy.

            However, let's not forget Proneuron and activated macrophages in addition to Diacrin, Purdue, etc. There are more clinical trials, with many in the wings, currently available.

            Progress continues. This article is encouraging.