Doctors: Spinal cord injury victim’s cell transplant a success

Accidents happen every day here in Illinois and throughout the country. After being involved in serious accidents, it is imperative that victims receive medical treatment as soon as possible. Doctors cannot always prevent accident victims from dying or from suffering permanent injuries, but doctors may be able to minimize the effects of victims’ injuries by properly diagnosing patients’ injuries and giving patients proper treatment based on their injuries.

Some injuries resulting from accidents that are especially difficult for doctors to treat are brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Brain injuries and spinal cord injuries may result in severe impairments and paralysis. But as a group of doctors in Florida recently proved, proper medical treatment may prevent spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis or other disabling conditions.

According to reports, doctors performed a human cell transplant to try to repair an accident victim’s spinal cord injury. After monitoring the patient for 30 days, doctors reported that the transplant operation appears to be the first successful human cell transplant for a spinal cord injury. Now doctors are looking for more accident victims who may be willing to participate in the clinical trial.

The clinical trial was approved by the government about seven months ago. Researchers and doctors from The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis reported that the government has authorized the group to perform eight human cell transplants on spinal cord injury victims. The operations consist of taking nerve tissue from accident victims’ bodies and growing Schwann cells from victims’ tissue. The Schwann cells are then transplanted back into accident victims’ bodies, repairing spinal cord damage.

The first patient to undergo the operation for the clinical trial appears to be doing well and has not experienced any complications yet, doctors reported. The operation was done over a month ago. Although it could be years before the transplant operation is approved, doctors and spinal cord injury victims have hope that the treatment will lead to a cure for paralysis in the future. The treatment may even be able to help those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Doctors hope that more people will become aware of the clinical trial. In order to participate in the trial, accident victims must enroll within five days of suffering a spinal cord injury and their injuries must meet certain requirements.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Doctors seek new subjects after first successful cell transplant,” Diane C. Lade, March 14, 2013


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