Spinal cord paralysis provides a major roadblock for medical professionals. The medical community has worked for years to understand and cure paralysis-related injuries. Unfortunately, progress moves slowly.
But the good news is, progress still happens even if it happens at a slow rate. In fact, recent studies show an improved prognosis for sufferers of paralysis.
Introduction of stem cell therapy
Mayo Clinic discusses steps forward in the battle against spinal cord damage and paralysis. This progress comes in the form of stem cell therapy. Mayo Clinic is still in the process of running the first trials for this therapy, but the result so far shows potential promise.
In the study, a 53-year-old man went through stem cell therapy. This man initially suffered from a surfing accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He went through standard therapy first and showed immediate improvement. Unfortunately, at 6 months in, he hit a plateau and the progress stopped.
At 9 months after the accident, experts enrolled him in the stem cell study. Then, at 11 months post-accident, the man received stem cell injections. The team derived mesenchymal cells from the patient’s fat cells. They injected these cells into his lower back in a lumbar puncture.
Different responses in different patients
The man responded well. He saw significant improvement in both motor function and sensory input. But doctors want to note that the man is a superresponder. Not every victim will react to the treatment in the same way. Some may not see such steep improvement. Some may see none at all.
The study is working to determine how feasible stem cell therapy is for paralysis. They will check its effectiveness, safety and the rate at which patients respond positively. From there, they can decide whether to move forward with pursuing stem cell therapy study.