Current Options for Cell Therapy in Spinal Cord Injury

Irma Vismara, Simonetta Papa, Filippo Rossi, Gianluigi Forloni, Pietro Veglianese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a complex pathology that evolves after primary acute mechanical injury, causing further damage to the spinal cord tissue that exacerbates clinical outcomes. Based on encouraging results from preclinical experiments, some cell treatments being translated into clinical practice demonstrate promising and effective improvement in sensory/motor function. Combinatorial treatments of cell and drug/biological factors have been demonstrated to be more effective than cell treatments alone. Recent advances have led to the development of biomaterials aiming to promote in situ cell delivery for SCI, together with combinatorial strategies using drugs/biomolecules to achieve a maximized multitarget approach. This review provides an overview of single and combinatorial regenerative cell treatments as well as potential delivery options to treat SCI. The multitherapeutic ability of stem cells that are able to release potential beneficial factors at the damaged site is being evaluated as one of the most promising strategies for SCI. The use of mesenchymal stem cells may be a promising therapeutic strategy for immunomodulation and trophic support in SCI. Embryonic stem cells, neural stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, olfactory ensheathing cells, and Schwann cells can contribute to replacing spinal cord architecture and functionality. The association of stem cells and a biopolymer support may provide localized targeted therapy to maximize the efficacy of cell treatments in SCI. Combinatorial strategies as a multitherapeutic approach may be more effective than individual cell therapies in SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-849
Number of pages19
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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