This Phase I/II trial will evaluate the safety and early signs of effectiveness of the Company’s human neural stem cells in patients with varying degrees of injury. The cells that the company has branded HuCNS-SC were surgically transplanted into the enrolled patients. The Company is now monitoring changes in neurological function over a period of several years.
CIRM fostered this clinical trial by funding earlier basic research at the University of California at Irvine. Based in California, StemCells, Inc., states this trial holds promise for one day soon treating patients suffering from chronic spinal injury and paralysis. The Company’s Vice President Dr. Stephen Huhn said in a news release picked up by the Sacramento Business Journal:
"This is the first clinical trial evaluating stem cell transplantation in spinal cord injury to successfully complete enrollment. Successful dosing of all subjects in the trial is a major accomplishment for the field and the spinal cord injury program at StemCells, Inc.”This advance comes on the heels of more clinical trial news from Neuralstem, Inc., and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Yesterday they announced that the University’s review board had approval a Phase I trial to treat spinal cord injury patients with the company’s adult neural stem cells, NSI-566. This trial builds on successful results in animal models, which showed that paralyzed rats exhibited significant improvement in motor function—just days after being transplanted with the cells.
Neuralstem’s technology has already led to initially successful clinical trials in patients suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. With the new spinal cord injury trial, the Company believes it can confirm a therapeutic strategy for reversing the debilitating effects of spinal injury. Karl Johe, Neuralstem's Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer, said in a recent news release picked up by Reuters: “
"With 30 successful spinal surgeries completed in our ALS trials, we feel we are ready to tackle spinal cord injury and are excited to begin this ground-breaking study.”Researchers have often looked to regenerative medicine to treat conditions such as paralysis caused by spinal injury. Now, as companies like StemCells, Inc., and Neuralstem begin to move their technology from the lab and into patients, the long-held hopes of scientists, patients and their families is closer to becoming reality.
You can read about CIRM’s funded projects in the field in our spinal cord injury fact sheet.