Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating condition affecting an estimated 1,275,000 Americans at a cost of over 40 billion dollars each year. The main causes of SCI are automobile accidents, falls, other accidents, and violence such as gunshot or stab wounds. Depending on the precise location and severity of the insult, patients experience a range of motor, sensory, and autonomic impairments resulting either from disruption of ascending and descending axonal tracts or damage to the local neuronal circuitry at the injury site. Although much effort has been dedicated to the development of treatments and cures for this condition, to date, there is no effective way to reinstate motor, sensory, or autonomic functions. The burgeoning field of stem cell research has offered exciting new possibilities for the treatment of SCI, but little success has been realized in the limited clinical trials that have been performed thus far. The following chapter will review the cellular consequences of SCI, the efforts made to counteract these consequences by non-stem cell approaches, the stem cell-based strategies currently being investigated in preclinical studies, and the current state of clinical stem cell trials on patients suffering from SCI.
- Cell replacement
- Spinal cord injuries
- Trophic support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)