Stem Cell Therapy for Orthopedic

Spinal Cord Injury

Stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) is used to treat an incurable, life-altering neurological disorder that causes permanent loss of movement and sensory function in millions of people throughout the world. It affects them in every aspect of their personal and social lives. Stem cell therapy has been recognized as a feasible treatment for SCI in the research community for the last two decades.

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The Condition

Spinal Cord Injuries

Stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) has emerged as a very promising treatment. Every year, about 500,000 new cases of SCI are reported worldwide. Trauma from traffic accidents, falls, gunfire, or medical/surgical complications is the most common cause.

SCI remains a syndrome that primarily affects young people due to the nature of its causes. However, because we live in an aging society, we are seeing an increase in the frequency of new occurrences of SCI in the older population following low-energy trauma. 

Current clinical therapy emphasizes early surgical decompression and mechanical stabilization of the SCI site, followed by pharmaceutical intervention with methylprednisolone, nimodipine, naloxone, and other medications. Patients enroll in rehabilitation programs after the initial critical period to regain functionality and autonomy. 

Unfortunately, all of these therapies have yielded poor results in terms of neuroprotection, neuroregeneration, and functional recovery. The complexity of the pathophysiological mechanisms of SCI, which result in irreparable damage to the neuronal environment at the site of the lesion, is to blame for this failure.

Stem cell therapy trials using humans with SCI became a reality in the first decade of this century and yielded excellent outcomes.

Spinal Cord Injury Mechanism

The exact mechanism of spinal cord injury

The exact mechanism of spinal cord injury (SCI) is separated into two stages. The first, known as primary injury, occurs when a mechanical force is applied to the spinal cord, producing compression, laceration, distraction, or shearing of neuronal tissue as well as damage to blood vessels and surrounding tissues. According to research, primary damage almost never fully breaks the spinal cord’s anatomical continuity.

Secondary injury is further classified into four stages: immediate (0-2 hours after the injury), acute (2-48 hours, subacute: 2 days – 2 weeks), intermediate (2 weeks – 6 months), and chronic (>6 months). 

The first visible change is a widespread swelling of the spinal cord, which is accompanied by hemorrhage in the central gray matter. Direct breakdown of cell membranes and ischemia caused by vascular damage result in cell necrotic death, which leads to white matter hemorrhage and cord ischemia that can extend to several spinal segments.

The disruption of the blood-spinal cord barrier causes neuroinflammation, which contributes to the death of brain cells.

Unleash The Power. Feel The Difference.

Stemwell Spinal Cord Injury Procedure

Stemwell uses cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells ethically sourced from full-term human umbilical cords (We do not utilize cells from embryos). We then administer more than 300 million cells that are all thoroughly tested for viability before treatment. These cells are NOT a blood product; therefore, it is extremely safe and does not require HLA or phenotypic matching.


Find out if you qualify for our mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) infusion by completing our secure, HIPAA-compliant qualification form

First Step

The patient undergoes an initial evaluation and blood work by Stemwell’s doctor.

Second Step

Endovenous detox therapy applied to patient 


Third Step

Localized intrathecal stem cell injections in trigger pain points

Fourth Step

Hyperbaric Chamber therapy – Hyperbaric oxygen reduces inflammation, oxygenates injured muscle, and regenerates skeletal muscle via macrophage and satellite cell activation.

Fifth Step

Photobiomodulation (PBM Therapy) –  the application of red and near infra-red light over injuries or lesions to improve wound and soft tissue healing, reduce inflammation and give relief for both acute and chronic pain.

*Each Protocol is customized to the patient depending their medical and surgical history 

This protocol information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, is for general information purposes only.

Different types of Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are key to stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury. They are multipotent progenitor cells that can be extracted from a variety of tissues, including bone marrow, adipose tissue, the umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid. Their use raises no ethical problems. Furthermore, they have a low tumorigenicity and immunoreactivity profile. They are believed to act at the site of the lesion by secreting a variety of substances, including growth and adhesion factors, anti-inflammatory factors, and cytokines. As a result, their effects are anti-apoptotic, neurotrophic, neuroprotective, and immunomodulatory.

The human umbilical cord is used to harvest umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSCs). They are easily grown in vitro and have modest immunoreactivity. Cytokines, growth factors, interleukins, BDNF, bFGF (basal Fibroblast Growth Factor), and neutrophil activators are all produced by them. When transplanted, these cells are thought to have anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, neurotrophic, and proangiogenic properties.

Wharton jelly is a viscoelastic material found in the umbilical cord that serves to protect blood vessels. It is possible to harvest and cultivate Wharton-Jelly mesenchymal stem cells (WJ-MSCs). They create a number of neurotrophic factors and can promote neurogenesis and angiogenesis due to high quantities of NGF, bFGF, and GDNF released. Studies have revealed that repeated infusion of WJ-MSCs can reduce glial scar and cause spinal cord regeneration.

Stem Cells Option

Is stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury a viable option?

Regenerative stem cell therapies have a high success rate and long-term success with no hardware placement and additional loss of mobility. Stem cells appear to have the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects described above, whether injected intravenously or intrathecally. They also relieve pain and increase quality of life in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients while slowing down further degeneration and assisting in the preservation and improvement of spinal mobility.


Frequently asked questions around using stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries

Can’t find an answer? Please contact us.

We are happy to help. 

Stem cell therapy shows promising results for improving spinal cord injuries, but it cannot be considered as a guaranteed cure. The extent of recovery and effectiveness of stem cell therapy depends on several factors, including the severity and location of the injury, how soon after the injury that therapy is administered, and your overall health1. Many patients experience significant and long-lasting improvements in function and quality of life, and stem cell therapy can help to slow down further degeneration. For instance, clinical research shows that stem cell treatments can promote the recovery of nerve functioning to help2:

  • restore intestinal and bladder functioning
  • significantly improve sensation and movement
  • improve self-care ability and daily life activity

As research is ongoing, stem cell therapy continues to evolve.

1 Park SS, Byeon YE, Ryu HH, Kang BJ, Kim Y, Kim WH, Kang KS, Han HJ, Kweon OK.(2011). Comparison of canine umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation times: involvement of astrogliosis, inflammation, intracellular actin cytoskeleton pathways, and neurotrophin-3. Cell Transplant. 20(11–12):1867–1880.
2 Xie, Q., Liu, R., Jiang, J. et al. (2020). What is the impact of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell transplantation on clinical treatment?. Stem Cell Res Ther 11, 519.

Clinical trials have shown that stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury can help to promote sensory, motor, and nerve functioning in patients. While some studies show that stem cell therapy leads to improvements in factors like balance and foot movements – which help assist with overall walking – many studies find that significant improvements in walking are rare. Currently, there are no treatments available that can completely restore injury-induced loss of function3.

However, each individual is unique and the degree of improvement depends on factors such as injury severity and rehabilitation efforts.

3 Rishi S. Nandoe Tewarie MD, Andres Hurtado MD, Ronald H. Bartels MD, PhD, Andre GrotenhuisMD, PhD & Martin Oudega PhD (2009) Stem Cell-Based Therapies for Spinal Cord Injury. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 32:2, 105-114, DOI: 10.1080/10790268.2009.11760761

The timeline for observing results from stem cell therapy can vary greatly for spinal cord injury patients. Some people may see early improvements within months, whereas for others, it may take longer to observe changes. The process of nerve regeneration and repair is slow, so it can be challenging to predict the exact timeline for potential improvements. At Stemwell, our continuous monitoring and follow-up assessments are essential to gauge the therapy’s effectiveness over time.

At Stemwell, we will evaluate the effectiveness of stem cell therapy through a combination of clinical assessments, neurological examinations, and functional evaluations. This helps us to track changes over time, measuring improvements in motor and sensory functioning, along with your overall quality of life.

Any medical procedure contains a degree of risk and as each individual is unique and responds to therapy differently, adverse effects can’t be ruled out.  However, research suggests that cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is generally safe and produces very minimal side effects. At Stemwell, we also go above and beyond to minimize the chances of any negative side effects. For example, our extensive screening of stem cells, highly knowledgeable staff, and commitment to safety and medical guidelines helps us to keep all treatments as safe as possible. 

Read more about the pros and cons of stem cell therapy. 

Overall costs depend on a wide range of factors. During a consultation at Stemwell, our highly knowledgeable team will assess your individual needs and identify the total costs of your treatment.