Stem-Cells to cure SCI – The Latest News

Few articles about latest discoveries and advancements in the stem-cell field.

They all refer to research and experiments on acute injured Lab Rats but some Human studies and even trials are planned.

UC San Diego has discovered a way to grow nerve fibers in rats with severe spinal cord injury. Researchers used stem cells to basically rewire the central nervous system, enabling the rats to regain some movement. The technique, reported in the journal Cell, causes connections from neurons to spread beyond the injury, restoring the ability of the brain and spine to communicate.


ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Neuralstem, Inc. (NYSE MKT: CUR) announced that its neural stem cells were part of a study, “Long-Distance Growth and Connectivity of Neural Stem Cells After Severe Spinal Cord Injury: Cell-Intrinsic Mechanisms Overcome Spinal Inhibition,”   In the study, rats with surgically transected spinal cords, which rendered them permanently and completely paraplegic, were transplanted with Neuralstem’s spinal cord stem cells (NSI-566). The study reports that the animals recovered significant locomotor function, regaining movement in all lower extremity joints, and that the transplanted neural stem cells turned into neurons which grew a “remarkable” number of axons that extended for “very long distances” over 17 spinal segments, making connections both above and below the point of severance. These axons reached up to the cervical region (C4) and down to the lumbar region (L1). They also appeared to make reciprocal synaptic connectivity with the host rat spinal cord neurons in the gray matter for several segments below the injury.


Transcript from Dennis Tesolat’s  Blog about Rick Hansen Institute’s poor performance toward any serious results, not even serious research for Cure for Spinal Cord Injury. 

Once a great National hero Rick Hansen & his Institute deliver no hope for paralyzed people while cashing on his fame.

To Rick Hansen Institute: we don’t need paper heroes

After reading two very disheartening announcements from the Rick Hansen Institute (Translational Research Advisory Committee – TRAC, and the 2011/12 Rick Hansen Institute annual report), the biggest beneficiary of the Rick Hansen Foundation, I decided to write a letter to their CEO, Mr. Bill Barrable.The point of the letter is, very basically, spend and research on chronic spinal cord injury or get out of the game and stop raising false hope in the community.

Simply put, a cure chronic spinal cord injury is not about slogans like “a world without paralysis after spinal cord injury”, but about spending on the right research. If RHI is not interested in spending on curing chronic spinal cord injury; they should just be clear with the community.

The letter below was sent today via email and fax and I will let you all know their response. I know that you’re all itching to make your voices heard, but for now, let’s see their response. As always, I hope they prove me wrong. Cure is not about my ego and I would love to admit that I’m wrong if money is going to cure chronic SCI. I hope others, without naming names, can also leave ego out of it.

We want cure, not paper heroes.

Dennis Tesolat
Japan, Osaka-shi,
8 September 2012
Via FAX & Email
Bill Barrable, CEO
Rick Hansen Institute
6400 – 818 West 10th Avenue,
Blusson Spinal Cord Centre,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
FAX: +1-604-707-2121
Dear Mr. Barrable,

My name is Dennis Tesolat and I have been involved with community questions directed to the Rick Hansen Foundation in regards to their spending on a biological cure for chronic spinal cord injury.

With great expectations I read about your new TRAC committee and its members along with the RHI 2011-2012 annual report.  I firmly believe that the TRAC committee could have a very good impact on decisions made by the RHI board.  I had two serious concerns after reading through these reports.  My first is that in looking at the members of this committee, I don’t see anyone who has been involved  in research into such a cure except for Drs. Fehlings and Kwon.

My other concern is with your annual report.  From my reading of this, it would appear that your efforts are concerned exclusively with preventing paralysis as an outcome of spinal cord injury, while at the same time trying to improve quality of life for those of us already paralyzed.

In my opinion, this is unacceptable from an organization whose slogan is “a world without paralysis after spinal cord injury”.  Please tell me that I am wrong. Please tell me that I missed very important things in your report and that you are contributing to specific efforts towards an actual physical cure for chronic spinal cord injury.

If you cannot point these efforts out to me, I would suggest that RHI be very clear with the community and tell people that your goal is NOT a physical cure for chronic spinal cord injury.

Without this announcement, countless people currently living with paralysis will make donations in the belief that you are working on an actual cure for them. There will be continued resentment and anger from the community when they find out they have been misled again.

I also believe that Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies who vote funds for your organization do so under the impression that RHI is seeking a cure for both acute and chronic paralysis. If your organization is not actively supporting efforts towards regeneration, you also need to be clear on this with your major funding sources.

More insidiously, organizations around the world which see you as a leader in the field may believe that you are offering leadership towards a cure for chronic spinal cord injuries.  If you do not offer this, there will be very deleterious effects on the overall field.  We therefore suggest that you actively step away from campaigning in this area and offering leadership unless you’re willing to actually fund the scientific research that will lead to regeneration.

Your silence around this issue is damaging to both the community and other spinal cord injury associations. I hope that, unlike RHF, you will break the silence around this issue and answer clearly and honestly.


Dennis Tesolat

Human vs Rat race

Human vs Rat race

Looks like recent “clash of Titans” on Care Cure Forum about concept of approach Spinal Cord Injury Recovery models brought more excitment by the end of this year.
We have Dr. Wise Young’s Human Trial with umbilical cord blood stem cells in full swing and Dr. Jerry Silver new delivery method of Enzyme Ch’ase in Rat / Laboratory experiments with promising results.
Both Doctors represent teams with different approach in search for cure of Spinal Cord Injury
and there is no hope for cooperation on horizon.

Looking at tracks from reserved boxes for handicaps we are privileged to cheer and support
both teams in (symplified) Human vs Rat or Stem cells vs. Ch’ase race.
We also hope to see merging of best methods and solutions and more and faster collaboration
but looks like unavoidable to see posssibly fierce competition and real race in the next 6 – 12 months.

Maybe, fast & fierce competition will bring more to the table than slow, too careful collaboration.

Post and Info about Dr. Wise’s trial is here on my Blog.

What the other teams of scientists (one with with Dr. J. Silver) are up to, read below.

It’s known for long time that bacterial enzyme chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) is disolving the “scar” that is forming after Spinal Cord Injury and than inhibit nerve growth and regeneration. The main problem is to deliver this enzyme to injured site as this very unstable substance is quickly disapear affected by normal human body trmperature.
The latest research shows in Rat model that scientists have figure out how to deliver chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) to injured site in one case using Viral and in another case Peptide method. Both researches are the latest news – top of the line findings in fully experimental phase (Rat model} and will be presented in October 2012 Conferences.

There is new hope for the use of viral delivery of ch’ase as a way to treat a much broader area of the cord and for more lengthy time periods. Because contusive lesions are so large simple injection of the enzyme after such injuries has not been very successful. Things are changing now and here is an abstract from the Bradbury lab to explain this new strategy. Gene delivery of chondroitinase ABC promotes functional repair following spinal cord injury
Spinal cord extracellular matrix is densely packed with growth inhibitory chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs), which become more abundant after injury. Thus, matrix modification has become a leading experimental strategy for promoting repair following spinal cord injury. Despite the beneficial effects that have been achieved by digesting CSPGs with the bacterial enzyme chondroitinase ABC  (ChABC), the potential for achieving long term efficacy in traumatic injuries that mimic a human spinal cord injury has not yet been released. Gene therapy offers a route to achieving stable continuous delivery of ChABC and therefore, here we deliver genetically modified ChABC via a lentiviral vector (LV-ChABC) to the adult rat spinal cord and assess the efficacy of chronic gene delivery using a spinal contusion injury model.

Dr. Jerry Silver
“We have now constructed the peptide which can be simply injected under the skin or via other potential easy routes of administration. It is designed to penetrate into the CNS even if given systemically. We are doing both acute and, of course, chronic experiments.”

More details here