Monday, 4 November 2013

Stem cell treatment shown to improve cognitive abilities after brain injury

Charles Cox
New data from a preclinical study led by Charles Cox, M.D., from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School reveals that a stem cell therapy previously known to reduce inflammation in the critical time window after traumatic brain injury, also promotes lasting cognitive improvement.

Cellular damage in the brain after traumatic injury can cause severe, ongoing neurological impairment and inflammation.

As of now, few treatment options are available for this problem. About half of patients with severe head injuries need surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels or bruised brain tissue.

A stem cell treatment known as multipotent adult progenitor cell (MAPC) therapy has been found to reduce inflammation in mice immediately after traumatic brain injury, but no one had been able to gauge its usefulness over time.

In this study, Cox and his team injected two groups of brain-injured mice with MAPCs, two hours after the mice were injured and again 24 hours later. One group received a dose of 2 million cells per kilogram and the other a dose five times stronger.

Four months later, the mice receiving the stronger dose not only continued to have less inflammation but they also made significant gains in cognitive function. A laboratory examination of the rodents' brains confirmed that those receiving the higher dose of MAPCs had better brain function than those receiving the lower dose.

"Based on our data, we saw improved spatial learning, improved motor deficits and fewer active antibodies in the mice that were given the stronger concentration of MAPCs," said Cox.

The study indicates that intravenous injection of MAPCs may in the future become a viable treatment for people with traumatic brain injury, he said.

"Our results demonstrate that intravenous MAPC treatment after TBI in a rodent model offers long-term improvements in spatial learning as well as attenuation of neuroinflammation." extract from the study.

Cox, who directs the Pediatric Surgical Translational Laboratories and Pediatric Program in Regenerative Medicine at UTHealth, is a leader in the field of autologous and blood cord stem cells for traumatic brain injury in children and adults. Results from a Phase I study were published in a March 2011 issue of Neurosurgery, the journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Cox also directs the Pediatric Trauma Program at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

References
1) Supinder S. Bedi, Robert Hetz, Chelsea Thomas, Philippa Smith, Alex B. Olsen, Stephen Williams, Hasen Xue, Kevin Aroom, Karen Uray, Jason Hamilton, Robert W. Mays, Charles S. Cox, Jr. (2013). Intravenous Multipotent Adult Progenitor Cell Therapy Attenuates Activated Microglial/Macrophage Response and Improves Spatial Learning After Traumatic Brain Injury. Stem Cells Translational Medicine
2) http://www.uthouston.edu

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