Picture being in a car accident and waking up in the hospital paralysed from the neck down.
This is the story of Kristopher Boesen, who underwent a life-changing moment where his car spiralled out of control on a slippery road, crashing into a tree and lamp post.
Doctors told Kris’s parents that he might never be able to perform from the neck down again.
Kris had an opportunity to go through a potentially life-changing procedure involving stem cells transplant, which ‘are capable to repair injured nervous tissue through the replacement of damaged cells’ (1).
The experimental treatment did not guarantee any rehabilitation to Kris’s paralysis, but to him, it was the only chance to walk again.
The procedure began in April where Dr Liu injected over 10 million AST-OPC1 cells directly into Kris’ cervical spinal cord. (AST-OPC1 cells come from donated eggs that are fertilised in vitro (i.e. in a petri dish).
For more information on where stem cells come from, check out this resource.
Dr. Liu explains:
“Typically, spinal cord injury patients undergo surgery that stabilizes the spine but does very little to restore motor or sensory function.
With this study, we are testing procedure that may improve neurological function, which could mean the difference between being permanently paralyzed and being able to use one’s arms and hands.
Restoring that level of function could significantly improve the daily lives of patients with severe spinal injuries.” (2)
Three weeks after the therapy, Kris started exhibiting signs of recovery, and within two months he could answer the phone, write using his hand and operate a wheelchair.
He had regained vital improvement in his motor functions; which are the transmissions of communications from the brain to muscle groups to create movement. (3)
Kris recovered two spinal cord levels which made a tremendous difference in his movement capabilities.
It was the distinction between minimal motoric or none at all and being able to function by himself. Kris regained this amazingly important aspect of independence.
After noticing the results of stem cell therapy, Kris said:
All I’ve wanted from the beginning was a fighting chance…But if there’s an opportunity for me to walk again, then heck yeah! I want to do anything possible to do that.”
Although doctors are not able to make any guarantees that Kris’s condition will further improve, they can keep testing with stem cell experimentation to try and improve the likelihood of it working fully on paralysis.
Up until now, they have made tremendous steps forward and will hopefully continue to do so in their search to solve paralysis, by teaming up with ‘associate faculty based in departments across KSOM and the University to study stem cell-driven new medicine’, Dr. Liu and his team at USC have agreed to keep researching stem cells and much more!
Stem cell research is ongoing and can be implemented in many ways other than paralysis; from Parkinson’s and diabetes to different types of cancer. (4) Click here to find the latest news regarding stem cell research.
This article was originally published on www.theheartysoul.com
(1) Stem Cell Basics – https://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/1.htm
(2) Experimental stem cell therapy helps paralyzed man regain use of arms and hands – https://news.usc.edu/107047/experimental-stem-cell…
(3) Assessment of Motor Function – http://www.lhsc.on.ca/Health_Professionals/CCTC/ed…
(4) Understanding Stem Cells – http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materi…
(5) Science Daily – https://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/…
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