Intraspinal delivery of Schwann cells for spinal cord injury

Andrea J. Santamaría, Juan P. Solano, Francisco D. Benavides, James D. Guest

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


Cell transplant-mediated tissue repair of the damaged spinal cord is being tested in several clinical trials. The current candidates are neural stem cells, stromal cells, and autologous Schwann cells (aSC). Due to their peripheral origin and limited penetration of astrocytic regions, aSC are transplanted intralesionally as compared to neural stem cells that are transplanted into intact spinal cord. Injections into either location can cause iatrogenic injury, and thus technical precision is important in the therapeutic risk-benefit equation. In this chapter, we discuss how we bridged from transplant studies in large animals to human application for two Phase 1 aSC transplant studies, one subacute and one chronic. Preclinical SC transplant studies conducted at the University of Miami in 2009–2012 in rodents, minipigs, and primates supported a successful Investigational New Drug (IND) submission for a Phase 1 trial in subacute complete spinal cord injury (SCI). Our studies optimized the safety and efficiency of intralesional cell delivery for subacute human SCI and led to the development of new simpler techniques for cell delivery into subjects with chronic SCI. Key parameters of delivery methodology include precision localization of the injury site, stereotaxic devices to control needle trajectory, method of entry into the spinal cord, spinal cord motion reduction, the volume and density of the cell suspension, rate of delivery, and control of shear stresses on cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Apnea
  • Extrusion
  • Needle-free injection system
  • Piotomy
  • Schwann cell
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Syringe positioning device
  • Transplant
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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