Spinal cord injury (SCI) often results in an inhibitory environment at the injury site. In our previous studies, transplantation of a scaffold combined with stem cells was proven to induce neural regeneration in animal models of complete SCI. Based on these preclinical studies, collagen scaffolds loaded with the patients’ own bone marrow mononuclear cells or human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells were transplanted into SCI patients. Fifteen patients with acute complete SCI and 51 patients with chronic complete SCI were enrolled and followed up for 2 to 5 years. No serious adverse events related to functional scaffold transplantation were observed. Among the patients with acute SCI, five patients achieved expansion of their sensory positions and six patients recovered sensation in the bowel or bladder. Additionally, four patients regained voluntary walking ability accompanied by reconnection of neural signal transduction. Among patients with chronic SCI, 16 patients achieved expansion of their sensation level and 30 patients experienced enhanced reflexive defecation sensation or increased skin sweating below the injury site. Nearly half of the patients with chronic cervical SCI developed enhanced finger activity. These long-term follow-up results suggest that functional scaffold transplantation may represent a feasible treatment for patients with complete SCI.
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This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81891000) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC1101504 and 2016YFC1101505).
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Tang, F., Tang, J., Zhao, Y. et al. Long-term clinical observation of patients with acute and chronic complete spinal cord injury after transplantation of NeuroRegen scaffold. Sci. China Life Sci. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11427-021-1985-5
- complete spinal cord injury
- collagen scaffold
- function recovery
- clinical study