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Study: Stem-Cell Injections Reduce Low Back Pain

MPCs repair disc structure (February 26)

A single injection of stem cells into degenerative discs reduced low back pain for at least 12 months, according to the results of a 100-patient, phase II, international clinical trial that included researchers at Emory University.

The study used injections of bone-marrow stem cells called mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) to reduce pain. On average, the researchers found that pain was reduced by greater than 50% at 12 months. In addition, there was improved function, less need for pain medication, and less need for further surgical and nonsurgical spine interventions. These results were observed in patients with moderate-to-severe discogenic low back pain.

The phase II trial builds on a previously reported preclinical study showing that highly purified MPCs were able to repair and restore disc structure. All findings from the study were statistically better for subjects receiving stem cells versus those in control groups.

“Currently there is no adequate treatment for discogenic low back pain,” said investigator W. Jeremy Beckworth, MD. “Both conservative and surgical treatments fall short. These positive results pave the way for a phase III study that may be starting later this year.”

Source: Emory University; February 26, 2014.

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