Patients treated with own olfactory ensheathing cells realize neurologic improvement

A team of researchers in Poland who treated three of six paraplegics with spinal cord injury using transplanted olfactory ensheathing cells found that the three treated patients showed neurological improvement and no adverse effects while the three control patients who did not receive transplants saw no improvement.

The study appears as an early e-publication for the journal Cell Transplantation.

"Most accepted treatments for spinal cord injury focus on techniques of early neuro-protection aimed at maximum prevention of secondary spinal cord injury and methods to stimulate plasticity in the ," said study corresponding author Dr. Pawel Tabakow of the Department of Neurosurgery, Wroclaw Medical University in Wroclaw, Poland. "These measures have helped patients with incomplete spinal injury, but results in patients with complete spinal injury remained limited."

According to the researchers, among the various kinds of neurotrophic cells being tested for transplantation to treat spinal cord injury, OECs deserve "special attention" because they are unique in their natural ability to stimulate regrowth of lesioned and "evoke long-distance axon regeneration and subsequent recovery of locomotion in paralyzed limbs."

The researchers noted specifically several laboratory studies using animals modeled with spinal cord injury where OECs derived from the olfactory mucosa have been found to stimulate the regrowth of neural nerves when transplanted into with paralyzed limbs. In those studies they found evidence of restored breathing, locomotion and climbing behavior in the animals.

In a phase one of this non-randomized controlled study, the team of researchers treated the three patients with transplanted self-donated (autologous) OECs and isolated from olfactory mucosa combined with "intense" neuro-rehabilitation. They found the treatment "safe and feasible" one year after transplantation. There was no evidence of neurological deterioration, neuropathic pain, neuroinfection or tumor growth, wrote the researchers.

"Neurophysiological examinations showed improvement in spinal cord transmission and activity of lower extremity muscles in the surgically treated patients, but not in patients receiving only neuro-rehabilitation," they said.

"We consider that the transplantation of OECs was the main factor contributing to the neurologic improvements in the three transplanted patients," said Dr. Tabakow. "Among the possible mechanisms for improvement is that the transplanted OECs may have mediated some restitution along white matter tracts in these patients."

The researchers added that the modest improvements in neurological function occurred against a "background of intense neuro-rehabilitation, which is probably needed for the improvements, although the experience of the control patients indicated that this in itself is not sufficient."

More information: www.ingentaconnect.com/content… prints/ct0799tabakow

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spinal cord treatment offers hope

Nov 18, 2011

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have developed a promising new treatment for spinal cord injury in animals, which could eventually prevent paralysis in thousands of people worldwide every ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

5 hours ago

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

7 hours ago

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments