ROCHESTER, Minn. — Stem cells derived from a patient's own fat offer a step toward improving—not just stabilizing—motor and sensory function of people with spinal cord injuries, according to early research from Mayo Clinic.
A clinical trial enrolled 10 adults to treat paralysis from traumatic spinal cord injury. After stem cell injection, the first patient demonstrated improvement in motor and sensory functions, and had no significant adverse effects, according to a case report published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
"In this case report, the first patient was a superresponder, but there are other patients in the trial who are moderate responders and nonresponders," says Mohamad Bydon, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologic surgeon and first author of the report. "One of our objectives in this study and future studies is to better delineate who will be a responder and why patients respond differently to stem cell injections.
"The findings to date will be encouraging to patients with spinal cord injuries, as we are exploring an increasing array of options for treatment that might improve physical function after these devastating injuries."
Between 250,000 and 500,000 people worldwide suffer a spinal cord injury each year, often with life-changing loss of sensory and motor function, according to the World Health Organization. Up to 90% of these cases are from traumatic causes.