Within the Central Nervous System (CNS), Bone Marrow derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (BM-MSC) may promote activation of helper cells (microglia and macrophages), rescue neurons from programed cell death (apoptosis) and sometimes induce nerve growth (trophic effects).
This is exciting news for patients who suffer from ALS, spinal cord injury and stroke.
See below for disease-specific details.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries remain one of the most common physically, psychologically and socially debilitating conditions worldwide. There is some evidence that injecting bone marrow nucleated cells and MSCs intrathecally (via spinal tap) can be helpful in patients with spinal cord injury (Park, et al 2012) (Jarocha, et al, 2015). There is also evidence that early bone marrow stem cells injected into patients with spinal cord injury can help reduce neuropathic pain ( Watanabe, et al, 2015). At CSCI we offer intrathecal stem cell injections with the patient's own bone marrow stem cells via a lumbar puncture.
More recent studies from last year found some promising results with co-infusion intrathecally of adipose derived stem cells with bone marrow derived stem cells (Thakkar, et al 2016).
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of mortality and disability worldwide. A traumatic brain injury is a heterogeneous disorder and involves many mechanisms including cellular death, neurodegeneration, and/or blood vessel injury.
Lumbar Discogenic Low Back Pain
There is clinical research to show that percutaneously intradiscal stem cell injections of autologous bone marrow concentrate can help reduce low back pain and even improve your lumbar MRI results (Pettine et al, 2015).
Spinal arachnoiditis is also called adhesive arachnoiditis. It is a painful condition of inflammation of the nerve roots usually in the lumbosacral spine, which can cause chronic pain. We have successfully treated spinal arachnoiditis at Cedar SCI with intrathecal injections with great success. Ask us about it.
Peripheral Nerve Injuries & Repair
Peripheral nerve injuries are common. Every year, 350,000 patients are affected by traumatic peripheral nerve injuries. Nowadays, peripheral nerve repair is usually done by a tension free microsurgical repair. Unfortunately, such treatments do not recreate the suitable cellular and molecular microenvironment to promote ideal healing. That is why there has been much interest in platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapies to address that problem. An orthopedic group in Japan studied ulnar nerve lesion and grafting in canines using vessel-containing conduits with implantation of bone marrow stromal cells. They showed promising results. (Kaizawa, et al, 2016).
In the wake of promising results in animal experiments, PRP has been applied as a filler of nerve conduits across post traumatic nerve gaps (Sanchez, et al, 2017). Here at Cedar Stem Cell institute we can perform nerve grafts utilizing PRP and/or Bone Marrow derived stem cells by a board-certified neurosurgeon. The most common nerve treated is the ulnar nerve near the elbow. Contact Cedar Stem Cell Institute for more information.
Research article in 2017 compared steroid injections VS. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for sacroiliitis. Patients who received PRP had significantly better pain relief that lasted longer than the steroids.