CHENNAI: Veterinary medicine has something new to teach humans about regeneration of the spinal cord using stem cell therapy. A study by Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Science University doctors has shown that the transplantation of bone marrow-derived stem cells in a novel polymer scaffold is more advantageous in the regeneration of the spinal cord after injury than other ways of treating the injury using stem cells.
In human regenerative medicine usually such injuries are treated by injecting stem cells close to the spinal cord injury or through the venous system through which it travels and gets deposited at the injured site. "We want more cells to go there as they get washed away. In this case the recovery is also much faster. We are constantly trying to improve the status of spinal cord patients. We are getting a very important and advanced scientific message," said Dr J K B C Parthiban, president of the Neuro Spinal Surgeons Association of India and consultant neuro surgeon at Globe Hospital.
The study was conducted by a team of doctors, including Dr Justin William, Dr R Prabakaran and Dr S Ayyappan from TANUVAS, Nichi-in Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Hokkaido University, Waseda University and Yamanashi University in Japan and Hope Foundation in Chennai. They followed the progress of a six-month-old Boxer dog, admitted to TANUVAS with paraplegia owing to a spinal cord injury, which was treated with autologous stem cells embedded in a thermoreversible gelation polymer (TGP) scaffold. The dog recovered scratch reflex in 133 days. Doctors followed its progress for 2 years and found that it is now able to walk and run around. No negative effects were found, so the technique was deemed safe.