Presently, there is no cure or effective treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI). Studies in SCI patients have shown that for a treatment to be effective it must primarily improve their quality of life. Numerous studies have shown that stem cells represent an alternative treatment for various disorders and have shown promise in several disease/trauma states. For instance, the use of autologous CD34+ stem cells has been shown to ameliorate symptoms of several disorders such as leukemia, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, and several autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis. For the first time, we report eight case studies of SCI (four acute, four chronic) with approximately 2 years of follow-up that were administered bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) via multiple routes: directly into the spinal cord, directly into the spinal canal, and intravenous. Magnetic resonance imaging illustrated morphological changes in the spinal cord of some of the patients following BMSCs administration. Comprehensive evaluations demonstrate improvements in ASIA, Barthel (quality of life), Frankel, and Ashworth scoring. Moreover, in order to assess bladder function, we designed a simple numerical clinical scoring system that demonstrates significant changes in bladder function following BMSCs administration. To date, we have administration BMSCs into 52 patients with SCI and have had no tumor formations, no cases of infection or increased pain, and few instances of minor adverse events. These studies demonstrate that BMSCs administration via multiple routes is feasible, safe, and may improve the quality of life for patients living with SCI.
Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.