People with spinal cord injuries have long waited for a cure. Spinal cord injuries change a person's life and fill it with difficult challenges. A person may no longer be able to work and may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
A new clinical trial recently given the green light by the FDA could be starting work toward a cure one day. The work is seen to be promising as the treatment has repaired spinal cord injuries in rats, mice, pigs and primates. The completely-paralyzed animals regained 70 percent of function and movement after being injected with their own Schwann cells.
Schwann cells send electrical signals and are found in the peripheral nervous system. The scientists hope the cells restore function and sensation if injected into patients with new spinal cord injuries.
In the first phase of the trial, the researchers will be watching participants for side effects from the treatment. In animals, the cells were not shown to be toxic or to cause tumors.
The man who is president of the Miami Project Cure Paralysis, which funds spinal cord injury research, says that the study will be a huge step in the right direction for finding a cure and a huge step forward for the science of spinal cord injuries. A football injury in college left him a quadriplegic, and he has fought most of his adult life to find a cure.
Source: ABC News, "Spinal-Cord Injury Therapy OK'd by FDA Could Lead to Cures," Susan Donaldson James, July 31, 2012
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