Stem Cells Therapy
for
Spinal Cord Injury

Regenerate. Repair. Restore.

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Therapy type:

If you are considering stem cell therapy, contact the Stem Cells Transplant Institute today

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, recommends the use of umbilical cord stem cells for the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute can help promote healing to help improve some functions including:

  • Improve bladder function
  • Improve bowel function
  • Decrease neuropathic pain
  • Decrease spasticity
  • Improve motor function
  • Increase ability to sweat
  • Increase sensation
  • Improve muscle mass and strength
  • Improve balance and coordination

What patients are saying

What do we know about spinal cord injuries?

The brain and the spinal cord make up your body’s central nervous system which controls most functions of the body and mind.

The spine carries messages, or nerve impulses, between the body and the brain.

When the spinal cord is injured, the communication between the brain and the body is disrupted; most of the nerve impulses cannot get through causing a loss of sensation, autonomic nervous system control, and mobility.

Most of our body’s organs and tissue can recover after an injury, however, cells in the central nervous system are so specialized they cannot replicate and create new specialized cells, making it very difficult to recover from a spinal cord injury.

What are scientists researching?

Since 2005, clinicians specializing in regenerative medicine have been using stem cell therapy to treat spinal cord injuries. Clinicaltrials.gov currently has more than 47 clinical trials listed evaluating the safety and efficacy of stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries. https://clinicaltrials.gov

Stem cell therapy, using adult mesenchymal stem cells, has been shown to be safe for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. The focus, of current stem cell research and treatments, is to reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins and free radicals, and replace neurons and their supporting cells.

Published in 2018 in Cytotherapy, researchers shared the results of a phase 2 clinical trial evaluating stem cell therapy in patients with chronic spinal cord injury who received three intrathecal injections and were then followed for 10 months. The researchers were able to evaluate the safety and efficacy of stem cell treatment in 9 out of the 11 enrolled patients.

Results showed the treatment to be well tolerated with no treatment related adverse events.

At the end of 10 months, 66.6% of patients showed improvement in urodynamic studies, 55.5% of patients experienced somatosensory improvements and 44.4% of patients had improved voluntary muscle contraction.

Table VIII and Table IX are taken directly from the publication1

How can stem cell therapy improve lost functions due to a spinal cord injury?

The goal of stem cell therapy is to replace lost and damaged neurons.

Through the paracrine effect, stem cell therapy also:

  • Modulates and improves immune system response
  • Eliminates cellular debris
  • Limits secondary damage by protecting neurons and reducing inflammation
  • Improves angiogenesis
  • Promotes healing by promoting cell regeneration of endogenous stem cells
  • If given soon after injury, stem cell therapy can limit initial degeneration

What is the treatment protocol for a spinal cord injury at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute?

  1. 1cc vial of 30 million mesenchymal stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood or autologous mesenchymal stem cells derived from the patient’s own adipose tissue and bone marrow.
  2. Antioxidant therapy with vitamin C and glutathione
  3. Ozone therapy
  4. Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)

Most patients with SCI will need to receive at least three treatments.

What are the advantages of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells?

  • Abundant supply containing up to 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow or adipose derived stem cells
  • hUC-MSC have immunosuppressors and immunomodulatory properties that allow their use in any individual without rejection- Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is not necessary
  • Greater proliferation ability than adult autologous stem cells
  • They regenerate at a very rapid rate
  • They have not been impacted by the aging process
  • They have not been affected by environmental toxins
  • Umbilical cord stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days
  • Eliminates the need to collect stem cells from the patient’s fat or hip bone reducing pain and recovery time

What are the challenges?

Not all patients respond the same to stem cell therapy and at this time, it is not clear how reproducible this treatment is for different patients with different types of injuries.

Scarring can reduce the effectiveness of treatment.

Stem cell therapy works best if offered within a short period of time following the initial injury.

How are the stem cells collected?

We use only umbilical cord stem cells that are derived exclusively from umbilical cord donations. 

The umbilical cord stem cells from are collected after informed consent has been given by the parent, or parents, and only after the delivery of the baby.

The collection follows strict ethical protocols ensuring the stem cells are from safe, reliable sources using a non-invasive, simple and painless procedure. Once collected, the cord blood is then screened for disease.

For autologous stem cell therapy, our physicians use and FDA approved method and protocol for harvesting and isolating adipose and bone marrow derived stem cells for autologous reimplantation.

How are the stem cells administered?

The stem cells are administered by intravenous and intrathecal (spinal) injection.

About the Stem Cells Transplant Institute

Costa Rica has one of the best healthcare systems in world and is ranked among the highest for medical tourism.

Using the most advanced technologies, the team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.

Scientific References:

  1. Vaquero J, Zurita M, Rico MA, Bonilla C, Aguayo C, Montilla J, et al., Intrathecal administration of autologous mesenchymal stromal cells for spinal cord injury: Safety and efficacy of the 100/3 guideline. Cytotherapy, 2018; 20: 806–819
  2. Saito F, Nakatani T, Iwase M, Maeda Y, Murao Y, Suzuki Y, et al. Administration of cultured autologous bone marrow stromal cells into cerebrospinal fluid in spinal injury patients: a pilot study. Restor Neurol Neurosci 2012;30:127–36.
  3. Jiang PC, Xiong WP,Wang G, Ma C, Yao WQ, Kendell SF, et al. A clinical trial report of autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in patients with spinal cord injury. Exp Ther Med 2013;6:140–6.
  4. Mendonça MVP, Larocca TF, Souza BS, de Freitas Souza BS, Villarreal CF, Silva LF, et al. Safety and neurological assessments after autologous transplantation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in subjects with chronic spinal cord injury. Stem Cell Res Ther 2014;5:126.
  5. Karamouzian S, Nematollahi-Mahani SN, Nakhaee N, Eskandary H. Clinical safety and primary efficacy of bone marrow mesenchymal cell transplantation in subacute spinal cord injured patients. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2012;114:935–9.
  6. Satti HS,Waheed A, Ahmed P, Ahmed K, Akram Z, Aziz T, et al. Autologous mesenchymal stromal cell transplantation for spinal cord injury: a phase I pilot study. Cytotherapy 2016;18:518–22.
  7. Vaquero J, Zurita M, Rico MA, Bonilla C, Aguayo C, Montilla J, et al. An approach to personalized cell therapy in chronic complete paraplegia: the Puerta de Hierro phase I/II clinical trial. Cytotherapy 2016;18:1024–35.
  8. Vaquero J, Zurita M, Rico MA, Bonilla C, Aguayo C, Fernández C, Neurological Cell Therapy Group, et al. Repeated subarachnoid administrations of autologous mesenchymal stromal cells supported in autologous plasma improve quality of life in patients suffering incomplete spinal cord injury. Cytotherapy 2017;19:349–59.