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Publication Detail
Cell Therapies for Spinal Cord Injury: Trends and Challenges of Current Clinical Trials.
Abstract
Cell therapies have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of spinal cord injury. Basic research has progressed significantly in recent years, with a plethora of cell types now reaching early-phase human clinical trials, offering new strategies to repair the spinal cord. However, despite initial enthusiasm for preclinical and early-phase clinical trials, there has been a notable hiatus in the translation of cell therapies to routine clinical practice. Here, we review cell therapies that have reached clinical trials for spinal cord injury, providing a snapshot of all registered human trials and a summary of all published studies. Of registered trials, the majority have used autologous cells and approximately a third have been government funded, a third industry sponsored, and a third funded by university or healthcare systems. A total of 37 cell therapy trials have been published, primarily using stem cells, although a smaller number have used Schwann cells or olfactory ensheathing cells. Significant challenges remain for cell therapy trials in this area, including achieving stringent regulatory standards, ensuring appropriately powered efficacy trials, and establishing sustainable long-term funding. However, cell therapies hold great promise for human spinal cord repair and future trials must continue to capitalize on the exciting developments emerging from preclinical studies.
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Brain Repair & Rehabilitation
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