StemCells Inc, Newark, Calif, reports that it has now enrolled the first patient with an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) in its PhaseI/II clinical trial in chronic SCI and has administered its proprietary HuCNS-SC neural stem cells to the patient. According to the release, the Canadian patient sustained a thoracic SCI as a result of a sports-related accident. The patient was administered the cells yesterday at Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich.

The company notes that the patient is the first in the second cohort of the trial. The trial is slated to include four patients who retain some sensory function below the level of trauma. Stephen Huhn, MD, FACS, FAAP, vice president, head of the CNS Program at StemCells Inc, characterizes the patient enrollment as an important milestone for the company and the SCI community.

“Given the encouraging interim data from the most severely injured patient cohort that we reported earlier this month, testing patients with less severe injury should afford us an even better opportunity to continue to test safety and to detect and assess clinical changes,” Huhn says. A retained degree of spinal cord function in incomplete SCI patients could potentially be increased by transplantation with neural stem cells, Huhn adds. 

StemCells Inc reports that earlier this month, according to interim 6-month data from the first patient cohort in the PhaseI/II clinical trial, the treatment continued to demonstrate a favorable safety profile and exhibited significant gains in sensory function in two of the three complete SCI patients when compared to pre-transplant baselines. Researchers note that they observed changes in sensitivity to touch, heat, and electrical stimuli in well-defined and consistent areas below the level of injury in two of the patients, while the third patient remained stable. Researchers add they confirmed changes in sensory function objectively by measures of electrical impulse transmission across the site of the injury, each of which they say correlated with the clinical examination.

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Source: StemCells Inc