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Open access

Richard G. Fessler, Reza Ehsanian, Charles Y. Liu, Gary K. Steinberg, Linda Jones, Jane S. Lebkowski, Edward D. Wirth III, and Stephen L. McKenna


The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the safety of 3 escalating doses of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (LCTOPC1; previously known as GRNOPC1 and AST-OPC1) administered at a single time point between 21 and 42 days postinjury to participants with subacute cervical spinal cord injuries (SCIs). The secondary objective was to evaluate changes in neurological function following administration of LCTOPC1.


This study was designed as an open-label, dose-escalation, multicenter clinical trial. Twenty-five participants with C4–7 American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale grade A or B injuries received a single dose of either 2 × 106, 1 × 107, or 2 × 107 LCTOPC1 delivered via intraparenchymal injection into the spinal cord at the site of injury using a custom-designed syringe positioning device. Low-dose tacrolimus was administered until day 60. Outcome measures included adverse event (AE) monitoring and neurological function as measured by the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury.


All 25 participants experienced at least one AE, with a total of 534 AEs (32 study-related vs 502 study-unrelated anticipated complications of SCI) reported at the completion of 1-year follow-up. There were 29 serious AEs reported. Two grade 3 serious AEs (CSF leak in one participant and a bacterial infection in another) were considered related to the injection procedure and to immunosuppression with tacrolimus, respectively. The CSF leakage resolved with sequelae, including self-limited altered mental status, and the infection resolved with antibiotic therapy. For all participants, MRI scans demonstrated no evidence of an enlarging mass, spinal cord damage related to the injection procedure, inflammatory lesions in the spinal cord, or masses in the ventricular system. At 1-year follow-up, 21/22 (96%) of the intention-to-treat group recovered one or more levels of neurological function on at least one side of their body, and 7/22 (32%) recovered two or more levels of neurological function on at least one side of their body.


LCTOPC1 can be safely administered to participants in the subacute period after cervical SCI. The injection procedure, low-dose temporary immunosuppression regimen, and LCTOPC1 were well tolerated. The safety and neurological function data support further investigation to determine the efficacy of LCTOPC1 in the treatment of SCI.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02302157 (