Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are a common form of trauma that leaves a huge trail of morbidity and human suffering in its wake. They occur mostly among the young, causing severe physical, psychological, social and economic burdens. The treatment of this condition has rather been disappointing; most of the management strategies being mainly supportive and prophylactic. In recent years there has been an emerging interest in the use of stem cells to regenerate the nervous tissue that has been damaged or lost. Although there has been much hype and unfounded hope, modest successes have been witnessed, and it is possible that these therapeutic strategies may have much more to offer in the future. This paper will review the current strategies of exploring cell-based therapies, mainly different types of stem cells to treat SCI along with the evidence that has been accumulated over the past decade in a rational bench-to-bedside approach. Furthermore, critical aspects such as the mode of delivery and ethical considerations are also discussed along with feasible suggestions for future translational research to provide a contextual picture of the current state of advancements in this field. The impediments to regeneration in the site of injury are briefly explained along with the benefits and drawbacks of different cell types used in the treatment of this condition. We hope that this review will offer a significant insight into this challenging clinical condition.
Keywords: Spinal cord injury, stem cells, transplantation, olfactory, neural regeneration, trauma, Stem Cell-Based Therapies, GENERATION, Embryonic Stem Cells, Lineage-Restricted Progenitor Cells, Neural Stem Cells (NSCs)