Drs. Eva Feldman and Masha Savelieff published a commentary of the manuscript by Kawabori and colleagues, “Cell Therapy for Chronic TBI: Interim Analysis of the Randomized Controlled STEMTRA Trial,” which was published by Neurology in January 2021.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a growing global health concern due primarily to motor vehicle accidents in young people and falls in senior citizens. The long-term effects of TBI can lead to significant functional and cognitive deficits, which results in a lifetime of disability, lowered quality of life, and economic burden. In a recent phase II clinical trial conducted by Dr. Kawabori and colleagues, stem cell therapy was tested at three different doses to treat patients suffering from TBI-induced motor defects. The stem cells were implanted in targeted areas where damaged brain cells and lesions were located. Using magnetic resonance imaging, surgeons implanted the stem cells in an effort to restore the injured areas of the brain. The results showed that motor function improved.
Based on the preliminary results, Drs. Feldman and Savelieff advocate for a phase III trial to further identify the optimal uses of stem cell therapy. They theorize that the practice of targeted therapy could be tested for other conditions, including stroke. There is great interest in the progression of this therapy to treat TBI and potentially other debilitating neurological conditions.