Stem cells offer the possibility of replacing cells and tissues that have been damaged. Spinal cord injury occurs when there is trauma or damage to the spinal cord resulting in vertebrae pressing down on the nerve areas that carry signals. This can affect a person’s mobility and sensation.
There are two methods of stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries. The first is through using the patients’ own stem cells, this is called autologus therapy. These stem cells are retrieved from a patients bone marrow which is collected using a small needle. The stem cells are then implanted back into the patients’ spinal fluid by a lumbar puncture.
Stem cell therapy that uses cells from a person other than the patient is called allogenic therapy. This medical procedure involves transplanting human fetal stem cells into the patient. This is usually done intravenously or subcutaneously (under the skin) and takes about one hour. The fetal stem cells then try to repair any damage.