Researchers Optimistic About New Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries
After a federal clinical trial was approved in 2012, doctors at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis performed their first human cell transplant with a spinal cord injury patient. The transplant was the first of eight scheduled procedures. The second procedure has already commenced.
Doctors harvested Schwann cells from nerve tissue in the patient’s leg, then inserted these cells back into the patient’s body. Different from stem cells, Schwann cells are a variety of nerve cells that play a key role in nerve development and regeneration. Using a patient’s own nerve cells reduces both the risk of rejection and the possibility of transmitting genetic diseases. This clinical trial involved a much-targeted group of patients; patients between 18 and 50 years old within five days of treatment following a thoracic spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injuries are a huge problem in America. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation reports that approximately 1.3 million people in the U.S. are paralyzed from to spinal cord injuries. Studies indicate that motor vehicle and workplace accidents are some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the U.S., accounting for more than 50 percent of them. Medical care for spinal cord injuries can be prohibitively expensive.
According to national injury treatment and statistics centers, the average costs associated with a spinal cord injury can run from approximately $230,000 to $780,000, in just the first year of treatment alone. For a young person injured in their mid-twenties, the lifetime costs can sometimes reach a staggering $3 million.
Further research and trials are needed. That said, new treatments may prove essential to help spinal cord injuries regain much of their sensations and functions.
The Law Office of Robert Kopelson has been fighting for the just compensation of California injury victims for more than 36 years, including catastrophic injury victims. Schedule a consultation to talk about your medical condition today.