The management of acute spinal cord injury: What the future holds
Watson RA., Tsakok MT., Mountain KE., Yeung TM.
Current management of spinal cord injury is restricted to initial damage limitation, supportive treatment and rehabilitative care. Whilst advancements have been made, a reversal of the injury process and repair of the cord has so far not been achieved and hence this injury has remained "incurable". However, a number of innovative new therapies for spinal cord injury are on the horizon, heralding an exciting era for this field. Ranging from pharmaceuticals and immunoglobulins to hypothermia and cell transplants, the approaches are varied. Perhaps the most high-profile new technique is the injection of Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells (OPCs) into the acute spinal cord lesion. Despite some reservations regarding the theory underlying this approach, it was the subject of the first clinical trial using human embryonic stem cell derivatives in humans, commenced in late 2010. However, this phase I trial was closed to future enrolment one year later, due to financial reasons. This chapter looks firstly at the current management options for SCI and their limitations. This is followed by a review of the plethora of future avenues for therapeutic development, including pharmacological, physical and cellular approaches, and an in-depth analysis of treatment with Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells. © 2012 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.