Earlier this year, we told you about a new procedure for spinal cord injury patients that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical testing. Now, the first subject of the study has experienced a successful transplant of Schwann cells to repair damaged nerve tissue, and has passed a critical 30 day period after the procedure.
The procedure involves taking Schwann cells from nerve tissue from a place in the person's body, and transplanting them into the person's spinal cord. Because of the first successful transplant, the study researchers are now looking for more participants, and hope that this procedure will develop into a cure for paralysis and degenerative neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's.
While it is always important to be cautious with new scientific discoveries such as this one, these discoveries give many people hope, even those that might not be eligible to participate in this study.
Spinal cord injuries are much more prevalent than people might think. Approximately 1.3 million people in the United States suffer from paralysis because of these injuries. This study is being used to monitor safety of patients and the procedure may not be available to more patients outside of the study for many years, depending on the results from the final study and approval by the FDA.
People who suffer from spinal cord injuries should understand what options are available to them and may want to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help the person and their family understand their rights.
Source: Sun Sentinel, "Doctors seek new subjects after first successful cell transplant," Diane C. Lade, March 14, 2013
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