Thursday, November 16, 2006

REMEDI to Conduct Stem Cell Based Spinal Cord Injury Trials

Stem cell-based spinal cord injury treatment in Ireland has moved a step closer after the country's first pre-clinical trials were confirmed.

The trials, which were announced by the Minister for Enterprise and Employment Mr Micheál Martin, are to take place on the NUI Galway campus as part of a collaborative effort between the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Edinburgh-based global biotechnology company Stem Cell Sciences.

The first of the collaborative studies is expected to examine the ability of neural stem cells from mice to provide functional improvements in spinal cord injury in rats, with a new 'distinct' type of neural stem cell used during the process.

However, while the development is a further step towards stem cell-based treatment in patients, Dr Tim Allsop, Chief Scientific Officer of Stem Cell Sciences, emphasized that procedures involving humans were likely to be 'some time' off.

Spinal cord injury affects more than 25 million people worldwide, with 130,000 new cases reported each year. "