Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Medicine Science

UCSD To Test Safety of Spinal Stem Cell Injection 43

An anonymous reader writes Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a clinical trial to investigate the safety of neural stem cell transplantation in patients with chronic spinal cord injuries. This Phase I clinical trial is recruiting eight patients for the 5-year study. Pre-clinical studies of these cells by Ciacci and Martin Marsala, MD, at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, showed that these grafted neural stem cells improved motor function in spinal cord injured rats with minimal side effects indicating that human clinical trials are now warranted.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

UCSD To Test Safety of Spinal Stem Cell Injection

Comments Filter:
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @08:05PM (#47667491)
    A teacher of mine was a quadriplegic, minor arm movement, but no fingers/hands, and nothing in the lower half of his body.

    Beyond this treatment actually sickening and/or killing the patient, what is the worst that could happen, from a safety point of view? I know that's in-part the point of the study, but many of those individuals that are this badly injured (or worse, no motion below the neck would probably gladly trade the risk of death for getting their bodies to work again.
    • Primum non nocere.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Death. Rejection of the stem cells. Chronic central nervous system pain they might not have had prior. (My brother in law participated in a similar trial for ALS earlier this year, and I read the informed consent doc.) It's a tough decision about whether to participate or not -- hats off to those subjects who are willing to.

    • Was your question, "Beyond something bad happening to them, what bad things could happen to them?!?"

      It's a difficult question. Risk what little motor control you have left (fingers you say?) in a gamble to get some more (or all) back.

      I'd roll the dice, but I'm not sure everyone would.


    • Agree.

      If I was in that situation, I would think exactly the same way. Seriously, is death worse than not being able to move?

    • Worst that can happen? Well, since this is basically a roll of the dice as to what happens?

      Pain originates as nervous system signals. Wouldn't it be great to permanently switch the pain centers to on in these quadriplegics with no recovery of motor function? And someone else already brought up cancer.

      Don't ask, "Well, how can it possibly get worse?" Because it can always get worse.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki@gmTEAail.com minus caffeine> on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @10:28PM (#47668137) Homepage

        I'm guessing you don't have a spinal cord injury, because if you did then you'd be happy with just about anything that could improve it. Since in a lot of cases, those pain centres are already "on." I'm still debating on getting a baclofen pump, that dumps the crap right into my spinal fluid. I already passed on the spinal fusion, since the failure rate and chance of being a paraplegic or parapligic was 53%

        As for worse? Well death is always a possibility too, but we're already heading down that road. The only question is when you get there and how.

    • by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @09:41PM (#47667921)
      You might prevent a future treatment that actually works. I believe that horribly injured/dying with no cure possible should be allowed to "experiment" with anything that has the slightest chance of working, with informed consent.
  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @08:17PM (#47667561)

    Spinal Tap

  • Lets hope this trial ends better than that of the poor woman who had tissue containing olfactory stem cells taken from her nose and implanted in her spine, and 8 years later had to have surgery to remove the nose that grew on her back!
  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @09:36PM (#47667909)
    Just imagine if we can fix spinal cords how many layoffs will occur in the wheel chair industries!. And home health aids may be less in demand as well as many people confined to chairs need a lot of help in the homes. This is one time that technology replaces workers that the world can rejoice and even giving more hope to the injured is in itself so vitally important. Now if we could just find a way to eliminate funeral workers -----
    • I hear (rumour) that the (known to work) cure for diabetes won't be available ever because it would cost too much money from lost drug sales.
      • Right. Because the US fee-for-service medicine model is the only one on the planet and furthermore, US pharmaceutical firms and scientists are the only ones who could possibly do breakthrough level science.

        Expand your horizons. There is a large, very sophisticated world out there.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Would that be the islet transplants? Because sure they do work, the only problem is about 70% of the people end up back on some dosage insulin because the body starts killing them again. The worst cases they're right back to the beginning 10 years down the road. There's still some fine tuning to fix it, my sister was offered to be in the very first round of clinical trials at sick kids london(Ontario) that was just about 20 years ago now, she opted for the clinical trials of the insulin pump though and I

  • by tpjunkie ( 911544 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @12:26AM (#47668581) Journal
    I own stock in the company conducting the trial (AMEX: CUR), and this phase I study is really more of a formality, as they have finished injections in the cervical and lumbar spine for a phase IIB study using the same stem cells in ALS patients; thus far the safety profile has been excellent (efficacy hasn't been rigorously looked at yet, but the initial results are promising). The results in rat models for spinal cord injury were very impressive, if this stuff translates it'll be a real game changer...I've read most of their published data so far and everything looks legit.
  • ... that this test, much like the procedure done for Texas Gov. Rick Perry a few years ago, involves adult stem cells, and not embryonic stem cells.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer