Peripheral Neuropathy

The term peripheral neuropathy is frequently used interchangeably with the terms neuropathy and polyneuropathy. These terms describe a group of disorders that are characterized by a loss of function in the extremities and rarely other body areas. Overall, peripheral neuropathy affects about 6-7% of the population. There are at least 7 different types of peripheral neuropathy (see: What are the causes and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy? below). The FAQ section below is designed to help you gain a greater understanding of the use of adult stem cells for peripheral neuropathy. We also want to offer a framework for evaluating if stem cell treatment should be considered an option for you or your loved one.

Stem cell therapy is a rapidly evolving and promising treatment for spinal-cord injuries. ... Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), most commonly harvested from bone marrow, can prevent activation of inflammatory responses that lead to cell death. Functional recovery using MSCs in spinal cord injury patients has been mixed.

"That is the most encouraging part of this study," says Mohamad Bydon, M.D., a consultant in Neurosurgery specializing in spinal surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and the study's director. "Intrathecal injection is a well-tolerated and common procedure. Stem cells can be delivered with an implantable device, but that would require surgery for implantation and additional surgeries to maintain the device. If intrathecal treatment is successful, it could impact patients' lives without having them undergo additional surgery or maintain permanently implantable devices for the rest of their lives."

To qualify for the trial, patients must have a spinal cord injury of grade A or B on the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale. After evaluation at Mayo Clinic, eligible patients who enroll will have adipose tissue extracted from their abdomens or thighs. The tissue will be processed in the Human Cellular Therapies Laboratories, which are co-directed by Allan B. Dietz, Ph.D., to isolate and expand stem cells.

Four to six weeks after the tissue extraction, patients will return to Mayo Clinic for intrathecal injection of the stem cells. The trial participants will then be evaluated periodically for 96 weeks.

Mayo Clinic has already demonstrated the safety of intrathecal autologous adipose-derived stem cells for neurodegenerative disease. In a previous phase 1 clinical trial, with results published in the Nov. 22, 2016, issue of Neurology, Mayo Clinic researchers found that therapy was safe for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The therapy, developed in the Regenerative Neurobiology Laboratory under the direction of Anthony J. Windebank, M.D., is moving into phase 2 clinical trials.

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