To repair the damaged nerve tissue and functionally educate the implanted material, a treatment combining cell therapy with the patient’s own cells, which provide the raw material necessary for repair, and an intensive rehabilitation program is performed.
The arterial vascular route is used for implantation in the affected spinal cord. Neural progenitor cells obtained from the laboratory differentiation of stem cells from subcutaneous fat are implanted in combination with effector lymphocytes that recreate the appropriate inflammatory environment to promote tissue repair.
This procedure aims to provide the nervous system with the necessary substrate to electrically reconnect the cranial and caudal ends of the damaged spinal cord.
Implantation in the spinal cord is combined with a second cell treatment in the muscles affected by the injury. In this case, in the skeletal muscle, muscle progenitor and neural progenitor cells (also obtained from the differentiation in the laboratory of stem cells from subcutaneous fat) are implanted under ultrasound guidance. The objective is to improve the morphological conditions and the contractile function of muscle tissue which, having partially or totally lost nervous stimulation and consequently normal movement, presents a serious state of atrophy. Initially, muscles that are partially innervated are implanted and as the connection between the ends of the damaged spinal cord increases and the arrival of electrical information to the muscles improves, muscles more distal to the lesion are implanted.
It allows functional stimulation directed towards the implanted cells so that they can differentiate according to the stimuli they receive and the needs of the organism. Without an appropriate stimulus, these cells are unable to express their potential and generate a functional change.
It is relevant to highlight that the rehabilitation treatment is radically different from the one usually performed in this type of patients. The reason for this difference is that, by providing the raw material (implant with neural and muscle progenitor cells) that makes it possible to repair the damaged tissue, it is possible to work to recover the lost functions of both the nervous tissue and the muscle tissue.
Most of the time, due to the severity of the injury, the rehabilitation treatment time after spinal cord cell implantation should not be less than 12 months. And usually more than one spinal cord implant is required and with it the necessary rehabilitation. According to the clinical response, the therapeutic proposal will be reevaluated. In case the response is positive, the spinal cord implant is repeated every 6 months and every 6 to 8 weeks in the affected muscles.
This video summarizes the results obtained two years after completion of the clinical testing phase in a group of patients with complete lesions of various types. The presentation was made at the XIII Annual Conference of the IANR in Poland.
It involves the loss of medullary nerve tissue, which causes the rupture and disconnection of axons, as well as the crushing of neuronal bodies at the level of the lesion.
Spinal cord injury involves the compromise of voluntary motor (movements), sensory and neurovegetative functions (such as breathing, sphincter control, among others).
It may be caused by trauma or disease. The most frequent traumas according to statistics are fractures or dislocations of the spinal column that produce the crushing of the nervous tissue. There are also numerous cases caused by bladed weapons or gunshot wounds.
Other types of cases may derive from diseases suffered by the patient, the consequences of which impact the spinal cord. For example, when an intramedullary bleeding occurs, the nervous tissue may be crushed. Similarly, there are tumorous causes, when there is a pathological growth of cells that are part of the nervous tissue and cause the crushing of the surrounding tissue.
According to the degree of injury can be said to be a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury.
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Treatment of spinal cord injury
Differentiation of cells
Preparation for the implant