A new report by researchers in Portugal and at Wayne State University shows adult stem cells increased mobility and quality of life for spinal cord injury patients. Dr. Jean Peduzzi-Nelson collaborated with Dr. Carlos Lima and colleagues for the study, published in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

The study follows 20 patients with severe chronic spinal cord injuries. All of the patients had total paralysis below the level of their spinal cord injury before the treatment, with treatment 18 months to 15 years after the injury. Patients received a combination of partial scar removal, transplantation of nasal tissue containing adult stem cells to the site of the spinal cord injury, and rehabilitation. All patients had no use of their legs before the treatment, while after treatment 13 patients improved in the standard measures used to assess functional independence and walking capabilities.

Dr. Peduzzi-Nelson noted:

This may be the first clinical study of patients with severe, chronic spinal cord injury to report considerable functional improvement in some patients with a combination treatment. Normally, in people with spinal cord injuries that happened more than 18 months ago, there is little improvement.

Lima and Peduzzi-Nelson had also published earlier results on 7 spinal cord injury patients; Lima also recently published a review on olfactory mucosa, the source of the cells for this treatment.

Dr. Peduzzi-Nelson and Dr. Jay Meythaler of Wayne State are seeking FDA approval to perform the procedure in the United States.