November 27, 2019

Mayo Clinic research is a step toward hope for spinal cord injuries

By Susan Buckles

Early research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings examines the first case at Mayo Clinic of stem cell therapy tested in humans for spinal cord injury. The case study found stem cell intervention, which took place after standard surgery, and physical and occupational therapy, restored some function in a patient with spinal cord injury. The report, "Celltop Clinical Trial: First Report From a Phase I Trial of Autologous Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the Treatment of Paralysis Due to Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury" is published in the Nov. 27, 2019 edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The research discusses the experience related to the first case in a phase I safety study of mesenchymal stem cell treatment for spinal cord injury. Mohamad Bydon, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologic surgeon and the lead author, cautions that each patient is different, so it's too early to consider stem cell therapies as a treatment or cure for paralysis from spinal cord injury. Dr. Bydon adds that much like early trials in general, the stem cell trials are going to show variable response rates.

Mohamad Bydon, M.D.

"While in this case, the first subject was a superresponder, others may not respond in the same manner. We do not yet understand all of the necessary biology needed to achieve neurological recovery in paralyzed individuals," says Dr. Bydon. "One of our objectives in this study and future studies is to better delineate who will be a responder and why patients respond differently."

The research

The research centers on a 53-year-old man who suffered a spinal cord injury in a surfing accident that left him paralyzed below the neck. The patient had immediate improvements with standard therapy, but plateaued at six months post-injury. Researchers enrolled the patient in the study at Mayo Clinic nine months after the accident and injected the patient with stem cells 11 months after injury. After the stem cell injection, the patient significantly improved motor and sensory function.

The case study focuses on feasibility, safety and dosing of stem cell therapy. The study team derived mesenchymal stem cells from the patient's fat cells and injected them into the lower back in a procedure known as lumbar puncture.

Dr. Bydon; Wenchun Qu, M.D., Ph.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician; and Allan Dietz, Ph.D., a transfusion medicine physician, led the multidisciplinary research team at Mayo Clinic.

Wenchun Qu, M.D., Ph.D.

"Severe spinal cord injury is a devastating condition for which scientists and physicians are trying to find a cure. For the first time, we are inspiring hope that people may receive better recovery in their function and quality of life," says Dr. Qu. "Mayo Clinic has been taking the lead in translating the fruits of decades of research and treating neurological conditions, among which have been very important clinical trials where we evaluate the safety, feasibility and efficacy of adult stem cells for severe spinal cord injuries."

Allan Dietz, Ph.D.

"This work both demonstrates the ability of cells to initiate repair and capitalizes on more than 10 years of work in the Immune, Progenitor and Cell Therapeutics Lab at Mayo Clinic. While there is still much to learn about the amazing ability of cells to heal tissue, this trial is an important step in advancing cell-based therapies toward clinical practice," says Dr. Dietz.

Investigators collected cerebrospinal fluid to look for new biological markers that might give clues to healing. Biological markers are important because they can help identify the critical processes that lead to spinal cord injury at a cellular level and could lead to new regenerative therapies.

Further study is needed to understand the effectiveness of stem cell lumbar injections and why patients may respond differently.

Currently, there is no way to reverse the devastating life-changing effects of paralysis from spinal cord injuries. Today, the only treatment is supportive care, such as surgery and physical and occupational therapy.

Dr. Bydon says his early findings give hope that new regenerative therapies are on the horizon for spinal cord injuries.

"The hope is that we will have novel treatments for spinal cord injuries in the coming years that will be different from what we have today. These will be therapies that do not rely upon supportive care, but therapies that rely on science to create a regenerative process for the spinal cord," says Dr. Bydon.

This research was made possible by funding from Mayo Clinic Transform the Practice Initiative and Regenerative Medicine Minnesota with support from the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Immune, Progenitor and Cell Therapeutics lab. The Transform the Practice Initiative aims to foster multidisciplinary teams of clinicians and researchers who align discovery and translational science, create new capacities and achieve solutions that improve the practice and address the unmet needs of patients.

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Read the news release

Tags: #Mayo Clinic Proceedings, #Spinal cord injury research, #stem cell lumbar puncture, #stem cell research, Dr. Allan Dietz, Dr. Mohamad Bydon, Dr. Wenchun Qu, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota, Research, spinal cord injury

There is a light, albeit a small one, at the end of what might be a long tunnel for my nephew. But this news is so encouraging…we keep the faith

COMMENT

Thank you for the inspiring video clip and phase 1 study impressive results.
It appears that Adipose derived MSCs therapy is superior to Bone marrow derived MSCs therapy for spinal cord injury as suggested by Zhou et al in 2013 Cytotherapy publication, and by Takahashi in cell Transplant 2018 article.

Mayo study is also smart in delivering the therapy relatively soon after establishing the plateau state of recovery.

COMMENT

I had back surgery 1991 remove lipoma….nerves were injured L-4 and L-5……paralyze legs with no feeling in feet….will stem cells help me to walk again…I’m 81 years old ? I’m interested in free trials……

COMMENT
@elizaman38

I had back surgery 1991 remove lipoma….nerves were injured L-4 and L-5……paralyze legs with no feeling in feet….will stem cells help me to walk again…I’m 81 years old ? I’m interested in free trials……

Jump to this post

Thanks for your interest. Although enrollment for Phase I of the stem cell study for spinal cord injury is closed, Part II of this research study will begin in the near future. If you would like to learn more on the upcoming Phase II study, please email NEUROINFORMATICS@mayo.edu.

If you are interested in other spinal cord injury research, please consider searching online at clinicaltrials.mayo.edu.

Liked by christineadame

COMMENT

I have spinal cord injury at T10 – T12 due to bleeding into the spinal cord caused by cardiprin, 2 years ago. Can stem cell treatment help me walk again? Thank you.

COMMENT

This is wonderful. Would there be availability for appointments in the AZ area as well, or is this Rochester based? Thank you! We are thrilled to see this wonderful study.

COMMENT
@csy2007ipoh

I have spinal cord injury at T10 – T12 due to bleeding into the spinal cord caused by cardiprin, 2 years ago. Can stem cell treatment help me walk again? Thank you.

Jump to this post

Thank you for your interest. We would be happy to connect with you regarding regenerative medicine research, stem cell treatments and/or research at Mayo Clinic. Please call our Regenerative Medicine Consult Service at 844-276-2003 to schedule an appointment to speak with us. There is no charge for the appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.

COMMENT
@christineadame

This is wonderful. Would there be availability for appointments in the AZ area as well, or is this Rochester based? Thank you! We are thrilled to see this wonderful study.

Jump to this post

Thanks for your interest. Although enrollment for Phase I of the stem cell study for spinal cord injury is closed, Part II of this research study will begin in the near future. If you would like to learn more on the upcoming Phase II study, please email NEUROINFORMATICS@mayo.edu.

If you are interested in other spinal cord injury research, please consider searching online at clinicaltrials.mayo.edu.

COMMENT

Hello

I have one case and he want to have this procedure, how can we reach research team to be part of this study.

COMMENT
@husseinalyamimd

Hello

I have one case and he want to have this procedure, how can we reach research team to be part of this study.

Jump to this post

Thanks for your interest. Although enrollment for Phase I of the stem cell study for spinal cord injury is closed, Part II of this research study will begin in the near future. If you would like to learn more on the upcoming Phase II study, please email NEUROINFORMATICS@mayo.edu.

If you are interested in other spinal cord injury research, please consider searching online at clinicaltrials.mayo.edu.

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