Phase I Clinical Trial of Autologous Adipose Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the Treatment of Paralysis due to Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury


About this study

The purpose of this study is to determine if mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) derived from the fat tissue can be safely administered into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with spinal cord injury. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs) have been used in previous research studies at the Mayo Clinic. All subjects enrolled in this study will receive AD-MSC treatment, which is still experimental and is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for large scale use. However, the FDA has allowed the use of this agent in this research study.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Male or female aged 18 years and older.
  • Females of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test prior to receiving the study drug and will agree to use adequate contraception (hormonal/barrier method or abstinence) from the time of screening to a period of 1 year following completion of the drug treatment cycle.
  • Females of childbearing potential are defined as premenopausal and not surgically sterilized, or post-menopausal for fewer than 2 years. If the urine pregnancy test is positive, the study drug will not be administered and the result will be confirmed by a serum pregnancy test. Serum pregnancy tests will be performed at a central clinical laboratory, whereas urine pregnancy tests will be performed by qualified personnel using kit.
  • Females becoming pregnant during the study will continue to be monitored for the duration of the study or completion of the pregnancy, whichever is longer. Monitoring will include perinatal and neonatal outcome. Any SAEs associated with pregnancy will be recorded.
  • AIS grade A or B of SCI.
  • SCI must be traumatic, blunt/non-penetrating in nature and not degenerative.
  • SCI must be within two weeks and up to 1 year after the event.
  • Full understanding of the requirements of the study and willingness to comply with the treatment plan, including fat harvesting, laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging, complete physical and neurologic examination and follow-up visits and assessments.
  • Once the nature of the study is fully explained and prior to any study-related procedure is initiated the subject is willing to provide written, informed consent and complete HIPAA documentation.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Pregnant or nursing, or planning on becoming pregnant during the study period.
  • AIS grade of SCI other than A or B.
  • History of intra-spinal infection.
  • History of superficial infection in the index spinal level within 6 months of study.
  • Evidence of current superficial infection affecting the index spinal level at the time of enrollment.
  • On chronic, immunosuppressive transplant therapy or having a chronic, immunosuppressive state, including use of systemic steroids/corticosteroids.
  • Taking anti-rheumatic disease medication (including methotrexate or other antimetabolites) within 3 months prior to study enrollment.
  • Ongoing infectious disease, including but not limited to tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis.
  • Fever, defined as temperature above 100.4 F/38.0 Celsius, or mental confusion at baseline.
  • Significant improvement between the time of adipose tissue harvest and the time of injection, defined as improvement from AIS grade A or B to AIS grade C or greater.
  • Clinically significant cardiovascular (e.g., history of myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure or uncontrolled hypertension > 90 mmHg diastolic and/or 180 mmHg systolic), neurological (e.g., stroke, TIA) renal, hepatic or endocrine disease (e.g., diabetes, osteoporosis).
  • History of malignancy including melanoma with the exception of localized skin cancers (with no evidence of metastasis, significant invasion, or re-occurrence within three years of baseline). Any other malignancy will not be allowed.
  • History of blood dyscrasia, including but not limited to anemia, thrombocytopenia, and monoclonal gammopathy.
  • Participation in a study of an experimental drug or medical device within 3 months of study enrollment.
  • Known allergy to local anesthetics of other components of the study drug.
  • Any contraindication to MRI scan according to MRI guidelines, or unwillingness to undergo MRI procedures.
  • History of or current evidence of alcohol or drug abuse or dependence, recreational use of illicit drug or prescription medications, or use of medical marijuana within 30 days of study entry.
  • Patients with baseline depression, diagnosed by the Beck Depression Inventory Assessment.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Wenchun Qu, M.D., Ph.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Brandon Trammell

(507) 293-0161

More information


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