Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are a serious public health concern. Damage to the spinal cord is irreversible, and it may result in partial or total paralysis, chronic pain, and other physical deficits. As a result, clinicians are investigating new treatments that may reduce the negative outcomes associated with SCI. One such treatment is stem cell therapy, which has become increasingly popular for its neuroregenerative abilities. The only commonly used form of stem cell therapy is bone marrow transplantation, but research suggests that other types of stem cell therapy may benefit people who have sustained SCI.
Current research suggests that stem cell therapy can reduce neurological disability in cases of severe SCI. Although spinal cord damage is irreversible, stem cells may help to protect and regenerate cells that die as a result of SCI. A group of researchers in Serbia also note that stem cell therapy alone is not sufficient to heal a spinal cord lesion, and they encourage clinicians to combine stem cell therapy with other therapeutic strategies such as medication and surgery. Furthermore, clinicians should continue to adjust drug dosages and methods of administration to ensure that stem cell treatments are maximally effective. As they continue to explore stem cell therapies, researchers should focus on guaranteeing that stem cell harvesting and application processes are as safe and effective as possible.
Stem cell therapy is one of the most promising methods for treating the devastating damage caused by SCI. As they work to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients with SCI, researchers and clinicians should continue to develop stem cell therapies as a viable treatment option.
Gazdic M, Volarevic V, Harrell CR, et al. Stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. (March 2018).