When MAPCs were administered immediately after the injury or not at all, the lab animals received no benefit. This is because it takes approximately a day for the immune system to recognize and respond to a threat caused by injury or illness.

“There was this remarkable neuroprotection with the friendlier macrophages,” Dr Silver said in a statement. “The spinal cord was just bigger, healthier, with much less tissue damage.”

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This research complements a finding from the Silver lab in 2014 in which investigators found that a compound they created, intracellular sigma peptide (ISP), enhanced nerve plasticity and regeneration and restored considerable function in lab animals after a spinal cord injury.

“Our dream for the future is to combine the neuroprotection of MAPCs with the neurogenerative capacity of ISP,”Dr Silver said. “Both can be delivered systemically, so there is no need to touch the spinal cord. It is already damaged enough.”


DePaul MA, Palmer M, Lang BT, et al. Intravenous multipotent adult progenitor cell treatment decreases inflammation leading to functional recovery following spinal cord injury. Sci. Rep.. 2015; doi:10.1038/srep16795.