Stem Cell and Spinal Cord Injury

There are approximately 18,000 new cases of spinal cord injury (SCI) each year in the United States (US). The vast majority of these injuries are the result of traumatic events, such as car accidents, that cause damage to the spinal cord. SCI can result in complete or incomplete paralysis, as well as a wide range of other physical and cognitive impairments. Although there is currently no cure for SCI, stem cell research is providing new hope for individuals with this debilitating condition. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to differentiate into various types of cells, including nerve cells. This ability to differentiate makes stem cells an attractive option for the treatment of SCI. In theory, stem cells could be used to replace the damaged nerve cells and restore function to the spinal cord. There are two main types of stem cells that are being studied for the treatment of SCI: embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells (ASCs). ESCs are derived from early-stage embryos and have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell in the body. ASCs are adult cells that have been isolated from tissues such as the bone marrow or brain. Unlike ESCs, ASCs are limited in the types of cells they can differentiate into. Currently, the majority of SCI research is focused on the use of ESCs. This is because ESCs have the potential to repair the damage caused by SCI completely. However, the use of ESCs is controversial because the embryos from which they are derived must be destroyed in order to obtain the cells. In addition, there is a concern that ESCs could form tumors if they are not properly controlled. ASCs are a more appealing option for the treatment of SCI because they can be obtained from adult donors with no ethical concerns. In addition, ASCs have a lower risk of forming tumors. However, ASCs are less flexible than ESCs and have difficulty differentiating into the specialized cells that are required to repair the spinal cord. A number of clinical trials are currently underway to test the safety and efficacy of stem cell treatments for SCI. These trials use both ESCs and ASCs. The results of these trials will be critical in determining whether stem cell therapy is a viable option for the treatment of SCI.

 "Stem cell treatment after spinal cord injury: The next steps." 27 Jun. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/neurology-neurosurgery/news/stem-cell-treatment-after-spinal-cord-injury-the-next-steps/mac-20488605. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.

 "Stem Cell–Based Therapies for Spinal Cord Injury - PMC - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2678281/. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.

 "Clinical translation of stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury still ...." 5 Sep. 2022, https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-022-02482-2. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.

The information below is the recommended stem cell therapy protocol for this condition 

Route of AdministrationDoseTime (Days)Total Cells
IV50,000,0003150,000,000
Myers cocktail/NAD50,000,0002N/A
Exosome IV


10,000,00060N/A
Intrathecal (site of injury)500,000,0001500,000,000
Total650,000,000