Tuesday, January 04, 2005

CELL STUDY: Blood cells may boost healing of spinal cord injuries.

A study using a person's own blood cells to boost healing within the first two weeks of a spinal cord injury is under way at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan and six other U.S. centers.

The cells are isolated from a person's own blood, treated in a laboratory to enhance them, then injected in the site of the spinal cord injury. Small pilot studies in the United States and five other countries show that spinal cord patients obtained movement or feeling after the therapy.

The therapy involves using a type of white blood cell that removes cell debris within 14 days of an injury. The cells, called macrophages, are part of the body's healing process, releasing growth factors that help to begin healing.

The study is open to people ages 16 to 65, with specific levels of injury. Those eligible for the study include those with injuries from the biceps or lower, which are defined as complete injuries, Asia Grade A, C-5-T-11. Complete injuries are those that leave a person without feeling or movement below the level of injury.

Two patients of every three in the study will receive the blood therapy, but all patients in the study will receive free rehabilitation therapy and follow-up testing for one year.

The therapy was developed by Proneuron Biotechnologies Inc., of Los Angeles, in conjunction with an Israeli researcher.

To refer a patient to the study, call Markyta Armstrong, at the Rehabilitation Institute, at 313-745-0204, ext. 92822.

Nationwide, contact the Proneuron Patient Recruitment Call Center, 866-539-0767 or visit www.proneuron.com.