Researchers successfully regenerate spinal cord nerve fibers, allow paralyzed patients to walk again

According to personal injury resources, damage to a person’s spinal cord can be a catastrophic injury that results in impaired movement, up to quadriplegia or death. Regardless of the severity of the accident, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that any kind of spinal cord injury that impairs movement will cost a person millions of dollars over a lifetime. Spinal cord injuries are most often caused by vehicle accidents (36.5%, NSCISC), affecting men about 80% of the time, usually young and single. These types of injuries can be caused from a variety of accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, drunk driving accidents, or slip and fall accidents.

Historically, paralysis from spinal cord injury is not curable. However, researchers in China from the China Spinal Cord Injury Network (ChinaSCINet) have been experimenting with using a combination of stem cells and lithium to re-grow nerve fibers within the spine. While the use of stem cells is still controversial in the United States, international research has been steaming forward, trying to unlock stem cells’ therapeutic potential. And according to ChinaSCINet’s research, they have had unprecedented success repairing spinal cord injuries, allowing some previously paralyzed people to walk again with minimal assistance, seven years after losing function of their legs. After this success, ChinaSCINet decided to push their spinal cord regeneration research through a third and final trial, involving patients from four countries around the world.

Dr. Wise Young, CEO of the company, noted that if this trial is successful, “we should have achieved worldwide regulatory approval by the beginning to the middle of 2015.” What was once considered a biblical miracle could become a widespread medical reality, very soon.

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