Administration of cultured autologous bone marrow stromal cells into cerebrospinal fluid in spinal injury patients: A pilot study
Purpose: To determine whether intrathecal administration of cultured autologous bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) is safe and feasible for treatment of subacute spinal injury. Methods: Five patients with complete tetraplegia due to cervical spinal injury on admission were included. A small amount of bone marrow was obtained during surgery for spinal fusion. BMSCs were cultured, reaching 107–108 cells. The properties and functional efficacy of the BMSCs were verified with surface marker analysis and a neurite extension test. BMSCs were administered by lumbar puncture. The patients were closely observed for 6 months, and the Committee on Effectiveness and Safety of Clinical Treatment (CESCT) evaluated safety. Results: No adverse responses were observed in biochemical and radiographic examinations. The CESCT did not recognize any harmful effects of the transplantation, and concluded it was safe for treatment. The patients were further followed up for 1 to 4 years with no adverse responses. The recovery of American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) B and C patients at transplantation was rapid and remarkable, but gradual or limited in AIS A patients. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that intrathecal administration of cultured autologous BMSCs is safe and feasible for treatment of spinal cord injury.