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Open Access Phase I‐II Clinical Trial Assessing Safety and Efficacy of Umbilical Cord Blood Mononuclear Cell Transplant Therapy of Chronic Complete Spinal Cord Injury

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Umbilical cord blood-derived mononuclear cell (UCB-MNC) transplants improve recovery in animal spinal cord injury (SCI) models. We transplanted UCB-MNCs into 28 patients with chronic complete SCI in Hong Kong (HK) and Kunming (KM). Stemcyte Inc. donated UCB-MNCs isolated from human leukocyte antigen (HLA ≥4:6)-matched UCB units. In HK, four patients received four 4-μl injections (1.6 million cells) into dorsal entry zones above and below the injury site, and another four received 8-μl injections (3.2 million cells). The eight patients were an average of 13 years after C5-T10 SCI. Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging of five patients showed white matter gaps at the injury site before treatment. Two patients had fiber bundles growing across the injury site by 12 months, and the rest had narrower white matter gaps. Motor, walking index of SCI (WISCI), and spinal cord independence measure (SCIM) scores did not change. In KM, five groups of four patients received four 4-μl (1.6 million cells), 8-μl (3.2 million cells), 16-μl injections (6.4 million cells), 6.4 million cells plus 30 mg/kg methylprednisolone (MP), or 6.4 million cells plus MP and a 6-week course of oral lithium carbonate (750 mg/day). KM patients averaged 7 years after C3-T11 SCI and received 3‐6 months of intensive locomotor training. Before surgery, only two patients walked 10 m with assistance and did not need assistance for bladder or bowel management before surgery. The rest could not walk or do their bladder and bowel management without assistance. At about a year (41‐87 weeks), WISCI and SCIM scores improved: 15/20 patients walked 10 m (p = 0.001) and 12/20 did not need assistance for bladder management (p = 0.001) or bowel management (p = 0.002). Five patients converted from complete to incomplete (two sensory, three motor; p = 0.038) SCI. We conclude that UCB-MNC transplants and locomotor training improved WISCI and SCIM scores. We propose further clinical trials.
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Keywords: Central pattern generator; Lithium; Mononuclear cells; Spinal cord injury (SCI); Umbilical cord blood

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Kunming General Hospital of Chengdu Military Command, Yunnan, P.R. China

Publication date: 2016-11-11

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  • 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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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