The rats received the stem cells exactly three days after sustaining the spinal injury, in addition to several drugs that lessened the immune response of the rats so that their bodies would properly accept the stem calls. The stem cells appeared to stimulate the rat’s neuron regeneration, as well as partially replacing functionality of lost neurons. The rats had greater control of their paws, and overall would now have a much greater quality of life.
With this knowledge in hand, scientists are working to develop neural precursor cells that could potentially become any one of the three cell types found in the nervous system, leading to induced pluripotent stem cells, which when taken from the patient would aid greatly in the process of spinal injury procedures and treatments.
1) Sebastiaan van Gorp, Marjolein Leerink, Osamu Kakinohana, Oleksandr Platoshyn, Camila Santucci, Jan Galik, Elbert A Joosten, Marian Hruska-Plochan, Danielle Goldberg, Silvia Marsala, Karl Johe, Joseph D Ciacci, Martin Marsala. Amelioration of motor/sensory dysfunction and spasticity in a rat model of acute lumbar spinal cord injury by human neural stem cell transplantation. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 2013; 4 (5): 57 DOI: 10.1186/scrt209
2) University of California - San Diego (2013, May 27). Stem cell injections improve spinal injuries in rats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2013/05/130527231843.htm