A modest new application of stem cells in therapy: researchers "have used a new, leading-edge stem cell therapy to promote the growth of bone tissue following the removal of cervical discs - the cushions between the bones in the neck - to relieve chronic, debilitating pain. [The procedure] used bone marrow-derived adult stem cells to promote the growth of the bone tissue essential for spinal fusion following surgery, as part of a nationwide, multicenter clinical trial of the therapy. ... We hope that this investigational procedure eventually will help those who undergo spinal fusion in the back as well as in the neck, and the knowledge gained about stem cells also will be applied in the near future to treat without surgery those suffering from back pain. ... In the surgery, called an anterior cervical discectomy, a cervical disc or multiple discs are removed via an incision in the front of the neck. The investigational stem cell therapy then is applied to promote fusion of the vertebrae across the space created by the disc removal. ... [Using existing methods], adequate spinal fusion fails to occur in 8 to 35 percent or more of patients, and persistent pain occurs in up to 60 percent of patients with fusion failure, which often necessitates additional surgery. ... A lack of effective new bone growth after spine fusion surgery can be a significant problem, especially in surgeries involving multiple spinal segments. This new technology may help patients grow new bone, and it avoids harvesting a bone graft from the patient's own hip or using bone from a deceased donor."