Stem cells hold a considerable potential for managing and treatment of spinal injuries. However, their delivery to injury site is usually quite problematic, as current ways of stem cell delivery may lead to unwanted consequences, including bleeding and inflammation around the area of the injection. Researchers from University of California San Diego may have found a way to remediate that. According to the research they published recently, they’ve found an approach, that not only lets medical professionals avoid unnecessary risks for spinal trauma sufferers but increase the stem cell load to the affected areas.

This research concentrated on use of a very particular type of stem cell, called “neural progenitor cells” which can differentiate into various types of neural cells and have an immense potential for healing spinal trauma. Right now, they’re injected into an area called “spinal parenchyma”. Delivery to this area carries risk of further damage to spine or interparenchymal bleeding, according to Martin Marsala, head of the research and professor of Anesthesiology at the USCD Medical School.

During trials with rodents, they’ve tested a new approach where they’ve injected stem cells in an area between protective layers of the spine, in particular – pial membrane and subpial space.

Marsala and his team managed to reduce the risks associated with the previous approach and deliver more stem cells per injection successfully.

After injection these proliferative cells enter the spinal areas and populate then up to the brain stem area. Injected cells then differentiate themselves into cells with characteristics, similar to cells in the area of injection.

This approach may enhance current cell therapies, with a promise of treatment/management of certain neurodegenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, it is for now some way away, as additional tests and then human trials will have to be done to rule out serious problems and issues