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Transplantation of Purified Autologous Leukapheresis-Derived CD34+ and CD133+ Stem Cells for Patients With Chronic Spinal Cord Injuries: Long-Term Evaluation of Safety and Efficacy

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This study is aimed at describing a novel method for treating patients with chronic complete spinal cord injuries (SCIs) by utilizing autologous, purified CD34+ and CD133+ stem cells (SCs). The study focuses on the safety and efficacy of transplanting unmanipulated, autologous, purified stem cells in treated patients during a 5-year follow-up period. In this report, 19 patients were included (16 males and 3 females) who presented with a complete SCI (ASIA-A) in the thoracic region. The patients’ endogenous cells were mobilized with subcutaneous granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for 5 days. We utilized the CliniMACS magnetic separation system to purify leukapheresis-derived CD34+ and CD133+ SCs. Purified SCs were directly transplanted into the SCI site. Patients were then monitored and followed for up to 5 years. On average, 76 × 106 purified SCs were obtained from each patient, with 95.2% purity and >98% viability. SC transplantation into the cyst cavity or the subarachnoid space was successful and well tolerated in all 19 patients and did not cause any allergic or inflammatory reactions within the CNS in the early or late periods after transplantation. Ten patients (53%) showed no improvement after 42‐60 months (ASIA-A), while seven patients (37%) demonstrated segmental sensory improvement (ASIA-B), and the remaining two patients (10%) had motor improvement (ASIA-C). This study presents a safe method for transplanting specific populations of purified autologous SCs that can be used to treat SCIs in a clinical setting. The results may be utilized as a stepping-stone for future investigations in the field of regenerative medicine for treatment of SCIs and other neurological diseases. This manuscript is published as part of the International Association of Neurorestoratology (IANR) special issue of Cell Transplantation.
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Keywords: CD133; CD34; CliniMACS; Leukapheresis; Spinal cord injury (SCI); Stem cell transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 31 December 2014

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