This news could provide hope to many paralyzed people around the world, incapable of carrying out their own day to day activities, that they can regain their sensory and muscular movements.
In a first, a 21 year old man, Kris Bosen from California, who had previously been paralyzed from the neck below due his involvement in a car accident in his early years, went for a new stem cell therapy that seems to aid the healing process.
The director of the USC Neurorestoration Center and the lead surgeon of the study, Charles Liu, did the procedure which involved injecting the patient’s spinal cord with an experimental dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells – these are derived from embryonic stem cells, located in the brain and the spinal cord, that helps the nerve cells to function and to communicate with each other.
Liu noted that usually patients with spinal cord injuries undergo surgery to stabilize the spine however it does little to restore the motor and the sensory functionality and that with this study, they are hoping to improve the neuro-synapses in those patients which could mean they would be able to carry out their day to day activities and improve the quality of their lives.
Kris Bosen was able to regain the control of his arms just 2 weeks after the procedure, and in the 3 years since he initially started the treatment, he has shown tremendous strides in his ability to control his motor functions.
Liu has announced to USC news that Kris has shown 2 levels of improvement in the 90 days post the treatment, which means he could brush his teeth and handle a computer, things that he was unable to do otherwise, prior to the treatment.
Kris is also hopeful of regaining his motor and sensory functions using the treatment that would allow him to walk again as he was looking for an opportunity that would allow him to do that when he heard about this particular treatment and opted in.
There’s a new hope on the horizon for these patients who require these treatments and many clinics are now comfortable administering these procedures to them, egged on by the success of Kris; like Mayo clinic that opened the stem cell therapy last year to 10 patients with spinal cord injuries.
Out of those 10 who got treated, one of the patients, Geoffrey Craigie, has opened up about the therapy and has said that he was lugubrious and deeply melancholic after the accident but now he feels hopeful since there’s help out there for people like him.
A recent study done by the University of Minnesota Medical School has also corroborated that stimulation of the spinal cord using stem cells can help cure paralysis, which is a great news for many.