AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017


Researchers Use Human Neural Stem Cell Grafts to Repair Spinal Cord Injuries in Monkeys

Findings represent major and essential step toward future human clinical trials


Led by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, a diverse team of neuroscientists and surgeons successfully grafted human neural progenitor cells into rhesus monkeys with spinal cord injuries. The grafts not only survived, but grew hundreds of thousands of human axons and synapses, resulting in improved forelimb function in the monkeys. 

The findings represent a significant step in translating similar, earlier work in rodents closer to human clinical trials and a potential remedy for paralyzing spinal cord injuries in people. 

“For more than three decades, spinal cord injury research has slowly moved toward the elusive goal of abundant, long-distance regeneration of injured axons, which is fundamental to any real restoration of physical function,” said Mark Tuszynski, MD, PhD, professor of neuroscience and director of the UC San Diego Translational Neuroscience Institute.

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