UT Southwestern launches stem cell trial for rare spinal disorder: 5 things to know

Written by Shayna Korol | October 09, 2018 | Print  |

Dallas-based University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers are developing a stem cell-based treatment for a rare spinal cord disorder.

Here are five things to know:

1. Transverse myelitis is caused by spinal cord inflammation that damages myelin, inhibiting communication between nerve fibers in the spinal cord and the rest of the body. It can result in partial or total paralysis.

2. UT Southwestern's Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute is beginning a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of using progenitor cell injections to reverse paralysis in transverse myelitis patients.

3. The trial will start with nine participants with the most severe form of transverse myelitis. Each participant will receive a one-time injection of progenitor cells intended to produce myelin along the damaged area and re-establish nerve signaling.

4. Progenitor cells have successfully repaired the central nervous system in mice, according to a study in Experimental Neurology. They may lead to treatment developments for other disorders involving damaged myelin, such as multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica.

5. Q Therapeutics is providing the progenitor cells and trial support.

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