- In most patients, bowel and bladder control and sensitivity improves, muscle stiffness is reduced, and more than 50 percent of patients regain motor function.
- Antonio Huertas: “This magnificent medical research work opens a door to hope for thousands of people around the world”.
Fundación MAPFRE yesterday publicly presented the results of the first clinical trial of personalized cell therapy in patients with complete and chronic spinal cord injury, conducted by the team of neurosurgeon Dr. Jesús Vaquero from the Puerta de Hierro University Hospital in Majadahonda (Spain).
The operation performed by the multidisciplinary team from the center involves implanting mesenchymal stem cells, which can create different types of tissue, from the actual patient in the exact location of the spinal cord injury. This technique is customized for each patient, given that it is carried out in line with the neuroimaging characteristics of each lesion and is conducted in the facilities by highly-qualified professionals from Puerta de Hierro Hospital.
The results obtained after this first trial started in July 2013, published in the scientific journal Cytotherapy, and which involved 12 patients, are encouraging. There was an improvement in sensitivity and spasticity (muscle stiffness) in all cases, an improvement in bowel and bladder control in more than 80 percent of patients, an improvement in sexual functioning and neuropathic pain (abnormal perception of pain); in this case, through a disorder in the central nervous system) and motor function recovery in more than 50 percent of patients.
This clinical trial is the result of over 20 years of research that has been done with the support of various organizations, such as Fundación MAPFRE and the Rafael del Pino Foundation.
The presidents of both foundations, Antonio Huertas and María del Pino, have demonstrated their commitment to the research in health and specifically with this project.
Specifically, the President of Fundación MAPFRE has reiterated his commitment to continue supporting “this magnificent medical research work” that “opens a door to hope for thousands of people with spinal cord injuries around the world.”
Fundación MAPFRE was the first organization to firmly commit to this project. It has contributed from the outset to financing studies and clinical trials that have been necessary and has borne witness to the efforts and progress that has been made, and the organization, which in recent years has supported more than 800 research projects worldwide, has invested approximately 1.5 million euros in this project.
Traumatic spinal cord injury represents one of the greatest medical and social problems, with no effective therapies capable of restoring the neurological sequelae arising as a result of it.