StemCells, Inc. a research and medical company based in Newark, California has recently seen positive results in the slow study of stem cell research. For the first time, patients who have suffered broken spine injuries have recovered some feeling from previously paralyzed areas after receiving injections of neural stem cells. The outcome is still in their early stages but its lasting effect is a big step forward in spinal treatment.
Four and eight months after the injuries occurred, three paralyzed patients directly received 20 million neural stem cells into the injured region of their spinal cords. The neural stem cells were acquired from donated fetal brain tissue and were the key to the company’s treatments.
The patients had no feeling below their nipples prior to the treatment, but shortly after, two of the patients started to have feeling between their chests and belly buttons, while the third had no change or new feeling at all. The two positive results were unexpected as the patients felt sensations of light touch, heat, and electrical impulses. “They’re really close to normal in those areas now in their sensitivity,” said Stephen Huhn of the company StemCells.
The data collected from the tests and treatment suggest a positive outcome but the research is still in its very early stages of development after only six months. Huhn also disclosed the possible reasons behind the patients new found sensitivity; which could be from the restoration of myelin insulation to damaged nerves, the improvement of communication signals to the brain, or the enhancement of the function of existing nerves, whether it be reducing inflammation or replacing them entirely. The scientist and researchers at StemCells, Inc. need more time to analyze the data and conduct more tests but overall it’s a positive start.