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Nerve Cell Transplants: The Future of Spinal Cord Injury Treatment?

November 21, 2011

An exciting new procedure, which could lead to the use of nerve cell transplants as a treatment for spinal cord injuries. 

Nerve cell transplants are currently being considered for phase I trial testing by the FDA. It has shown positive signs in animal testing and avoids the need for patients to take immunosuppressive medications. Researchers sent an application to the FDA for permission to begin phase I testing on human subjects.

How this nerve transplant research trial will work:

  • A patient’s own mature Schwann cells are harvested from a nerve in the leg
  • The cells are then grown in large numbers in a laboratory
  • The cells are transplanted back into the injured spinal cord
  • The new cells repair the damage to the spinal cord

Benefits: Schwann cells are used because they offer benefits like avoiding the need for patients to take immunosuppressive medications. 

The goal of transplanting them into the spinal cord is: that they will guide the neurons in the central nervous system to grow and repair the damaged connections in the spinal cord. The technique has proven successful in animals and is now poised to be attempted using human subjects.

This research has shown positive signs of animal testing. While many researchers have expressed frustration that this research has taken so long to be conducted on humans. There is excitement and hope among the spinal cord research community over the potential of this technique. For more information, contact an experienced Skokie spinal cord injury attorney by calling (847) 651-7191.

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