Stem cells: A step toward improving function after spinal cord injury

Early research at Mayo Clinic using stem cell therapy to treat spinal cord injuries has produced results for one patient that doctors describe as “beyond expectations.”

The clinical trial enrolled 10 adults to treat paralysis using stem cells derived from belly fat. Early trial findings show that patient response varies, and some participants may have no change in function.

However, after treatment, as part of the study, Chris Barr of Lafayette, California, demonstrated improvement in motor and sensory functions, and had no significant adverse effects, according to a case report published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Chris, his wife, Debbie Barr, and Dr. Mohamad Bydon, a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon, explain what happened before, during and after treatment.

It’s important to emphasize, this was early research that examined safety and dosing. Further study is needed to scientifically verify the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for paralysis from spinal cord injury.

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