Stem Cell Treatment Improves Mobility After Spinal Cord Injury

A treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells improves mobility in rats with spinal cord injuries, providing the first physical evidence that the therapeutic use of these cells can help restore motor skills lost from acute spinal cord tissue damage. Hans Keirstead and his colleagues in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC Irvine have found that a human embryonic stem cell-derived treatment they developed was successful in restoring the insulation tissue for neurons in rats treated seven days after the initial injury, which led to a recovery of motor skills. But the same treatment did not work on rats that had been injured for 10 months. The findings point to the potential of using stem cell-derived therapies for treatment of spinal cord damage in humans during the very early stages of the injury. The study appears in the May 11 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

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