Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can range in severity, from partial damage to full paralysis, depending on the extent of damage to the spinal cord. But, no matter how severe the initial injury, spinal injuries all have one thing in common – the body cannot replace the cells after injury. It is generally understood that the earlier a spinal cord injury can be treated, the greater the chance of minimizing the damage, since some of the cells may not be affected immediately and may take days or weeks before the full damage is realized. For this reason, researchers believe that the sooner a treatment can be initiated, the better the odds of success.
Currently there are no Health Canada or FDA approved stem cell treatments available for spinal cord injury, however, given the capacity of stem cells to regenerate tissue, researchers believe that stem cells could be introduced to the site of injury and coaxed into helping repair some of the damaged nerves and surrounding tissue. They are working to find the best kind of stem cell to do the job and the best way to either inject them or get them to migrate to the site of injury. Some clinical trials have begun to test these methods but approved treatments are still many years away.