Traumatic brain injury outcomes appear to be improved by stem cell therapy
Experts estimate that roughly two million people in the U.S. sustain a
traumatic brain injury every year. Unfortunately, not only are these sorts of injuries common, they are often devastating for both victims and their families. Even worse, there are few treatment options available to address the wide variety of physical, psychological and intellectual issues that tend to accompany traumatic brain injuries.
One recent study suggests, however, that the lack of treatment options may change soon. According to researchers at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, stem cell combination therapies may be an option for those suffering with the after effects of traumatic brain injuries. Their study was published recently in the journal
The study examined the efficacy of stem cell treatments – some used alone, others used in combination with one another – in rats with traumatic brain injuries. Researchers discovered that human umbilical cord blood cells, used in combination with the growth factor granulocyte colony stimulating factor, was more effective than when either was used alone. The reason appears to be that the two work together to fight the loss of neural cells that accompanies brain injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries typically trigger an immune response that includes neuroinflammation, which can lead to significant loss of neural cells. In some cases, the effects of this inflammation can be even worse than the effects of the initial injury. According to the USF researchers, the human umbilical cord blood cells appear to play a role in reducing this post injury inflammation. The growth factor appears to help neural cells to repair themselves.
Although each treatment showed some therapeutic potential when used alone, researchers saw the greatest improvements in their test subjects when the two treatments were used together. Indeed, the rats that received the combined treatment experienced more significant improvement in motor skills than those that did not receive both treatments.
More research and more trials are needed, of course, before this combined therapy is used on human patients. Researchers believe, however, that these stem cell therapies have the potential to far outpace pharmaceutical therapies for those with traumatic brain injuries. In the future, they hope to conduct studies on whether these treatments are effective in treating cognitive problems that arise as a result of traumatic brain injuries.
For those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or other serious injury, it is important to remember that you have rights. Speak to a personal injury attorney to learn more.