Back on Track

Schematic shows how stem cells can differentiate into other types of cells.

Why do kids love Play-Doh? It can’t be for the taste!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying…

Cuz you can make it into almost ANYTHING! Similarly, stem cells can turn into any different type of cells. Scientists are using them for novel treatments of injuries and diseases.  

Now, Osamu Honmou and colleagues from Yale and the Sapporo Medical University in Japan are experimenting with a NEW technique – intravenous stem cell therapy.

The researchers extracted stem cells from the bone marrow of thirteen spinal cord injury patients who had lost varying degrees of feeling and movement. They grew the stem cells into spinal cord cells by feeding them special nutrient cocktails. Then, these cells were injected back into patients’ veins. 

Results? After six months, nearly all the patients had regained some movement and sensation in their limbs. Five of them even learned how to walk again! AND none of them experienced negative side effects!

Scientists believe that the juiced-up stem cells rebuilt dead spinal cord connections. 

Maybe one day, we can BACKTRACK from spinal injuries! Talk about excellent STEM science.

Reference: Honmou, O., Yamashita, T., Morita, T., Oshigiri, T., Hirota, R., Iyama, S., Kato, J., Sasaki, Y., Ishiai, S., Ito, Y. M., Namioka, A., Namioka, T., Nakazaki, M., Kataoka-Sasaki, Y., Onodera, R., Oka, S., Sasaki, M., Waxman, S. G., & Kocsis, J. D. (2021). Intravenous infusion of auto serum-expanded autologous mesenchymal stem cells in spinal cord injury patients: 13 case series. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, 106565.