Aug. 13, 2008
The Australian team at the National Centre for Adult Stem cell Research, Griffith University, continues to produce exciting results. The latest report just published in the journal Brain gives the results of a 3-year clinical trial, using olfactory ensheathing cells (specialized adult cells that surround nerves) from the patients' own noses, transplanted into the damaged spinal cord. The initial one year followup had shown no adverse effects from the transplant.
These are not the nasal adult stem cells they published on before, another research project by this same group which has shown success at making numerous different tissues and has successfully treated Parkinson's disease in mice.
This was a highly controlled, extremely well done trial, with matched control and transplant patients, followed for 3 years. Patients were chosen who might be considered "chronic"--at least 2 years after their spinal cord injury--to control for any spontaneous recovery. The trial was designed to show the safety of the transplant. The transplant was utterly safe by all measures, and one transplanted patient showed improvement over 3 segments in light touch and pin prick sensitivity. The results, even with the small number of patients, are heartening because of the proof of safety and the vision of much better results to come with more patients. The cells were shown to be quite safe, to take well in the patients, and improve function safely.
Good on ya!