A first ever spinal cord stem cell transplant conducted by Japanese team

In the first of its kind, surgeons at a Japanese University, Tokyo’s Keio University, have carried out a successful transplant of stem cell into a patient with a spinal cord injury. They used iPS-derived cells of the neural stem for the procedure. Two million iPS-derived cells were implanted into the patient spinal cord in the surgery.

The team at the university wants to study if induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be used to treat the injuries. The iPS was made by stimulating mature specialised cells back to juvenile state. They can now be induced to mature into a different cell type.

Paralysis by spinal cord injuries has no treatment. It can cause paralysis of the whole body and the limbs (called tetraplegia or quadriplegia), and the legs or lower body (called paraplegia)

According to Masaya Nakamura, the head of the research, the safety of this transplant procedure has to be found out before they use it in many patients. An independent committee will monitor the patient who received the procedure for three months for safety purposes.

It is hoped that the trial which received the approval in 2019 will help and improve the quality of life and neurological functions in patients.

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