|"Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating event which results in significant and catastrophic dysfunction and disability. It physically and psychologically affects not only the individual, but also the family and society. Currently no effective therapies are available. SCI involves
an initial mechanical insult such as compression, tissue tears and vertebral distortions followed by the secondary injury with a cascade of cellular and molecular events, which ultimately leads to a fluid-filled cyst. Pathophysiological studies suggest that the disruption of spinal axons in the white matter and chronic progressive loss of myelin ensheathing the axons after SCI are the major causes for neurological deficits. Current treatments for SCI include surgery to stabilize the injury site and early administration of high doses of ethylprednisolone to help limit the extent of secondary injury. Unfortunately, their clinical efficacy is modest with high risk of complications and patients still face significant neurological dysfunction and disability. Recently, stem cell-based strategies emerge as promising therapies for SCI since stem cells are supposed to be able to replace lost or dysfunctional neural cells and provide a permissive substrate for axonal regeneration. Using animal models of SCI, various cell sources have been examined on their efficacy in treating SCI including embryonic stem cells (ESCs), neural precursor cells (NPCs), oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), Schwann cells, olfactory ensheathing cells, and bone marrow stromal cells. However, it remains unknown which cell type is optimal for the treatment of SCI. It is an important question we need to address before we move cell therapy to clinical trials. (Huanxing Su and Wutian Wu- Cell-Based Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury)"