Cell therapy project to improve the spinal damages started in 2003 in Imam Khomeini Hospital as one of the affiliated hospitals of Tehran Medical Sciences University and was performed in two phases.
Primary researches including studying and testing on the rats for modeling the spinal injuries started in 2003.
To perform the tests, a number of 33 rats were selected and paralyzed below the lumber by deliberately injuring their spines. Then the required cells were extracted from the rats, cultured and multiplied. Finally, the cultured cells were injected into damaged areas of spines of the rats. The improvement of the injuries monitored daily which after 60 days showed significant improvement compared with control group. As a result of improvement the rats became enabled of moving and even running.
After successful performing of tests on rats, in early 2004 the achievement report published in an international magazine as an article.
In this phase many studies carried out to evaluate the risks of this treatment in human. The results showed the treatment is almost risk-free and consequently the required approvals issued by Medical Ethics Committee. Also many efforts made simultaneously to achieve the multiplying and growth capability of extracted human cells (The advantage of using the own cells of the patient is to decrease graft rejection probability almost up to zero percent). The project has been financially supported by the Office of the Technological Cooperation. Ultimately, the first ever treatment on a volunteered human case carried out in February 2006.