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New Treatment for Paralysis Could Help Spinal Injury Victims

The severe forces experienced in a car or truck accident or other violent events can lead to devastating injuries and tragic fatalities. Among the worst harm that accident victims can suffer are the brain and spinal cord injuries that leave a person with a lifetime of medical and financial challenges.

While the forces that harm head and back injury victims need not be severe to cause lasting harm, one of the most apparent and difficult outcomes of a serious accident injury is paralysis. A Florida group, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, recently announced FDA approval of a revolutionary clinical trial to treat spinal cord injuries by transplanting human cells.

The cells in question are known as Schwann cells, which serve the human nervous system by properly routing electrical signals that guide movement and other activity. Researchers are optimistic that, by transplanting a person’s own cells to an injured area of the spine, future growth will repair the damaged area and allow a person to regain movement.

The clinical trial will begin by testing the safety of cell transplants using eight newly injured subjects who suffer a thoracic spinal injury and have complete paralysis and loss of sensation in their legs. Willing participants will undergo a biopsy of Schwann cells in the sensory nerves of one leg, and the cells will be grown in a culturing facility for several weeks before being reintroduced at the injury site.

Miami Project officials see the FDA’s approval as the equivalent of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, noting that over 25 years of research have been undertaken to get to this point. If the clinical trial shows that Schwann cell therapy is safe for patients, researchers will seek approval to extend testing to people who were paralyzed in the more distant past.

The neurologists who have been working on this revolutionary spine injury treatment state that the treatment will also be beneficial to brain injury victims and people who suffer from neurological degenerative diseases. The long term implications for those who face life in a wheelchair due to another’s negligence or recklessness are well worth noting.

Just as important, spinal injury victims and others suffering serious medical complications due to a motorcycle accident, construction accident or other traumatic events should recognize the expense and effort required to take advantage of the latest treatments and adaptive technology. By helping clients seek the full extent of damages they deserve, a personal injury attorney can make future access to medical advances possible.


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