For one young man, an accident last March could have been the end of life as he knows it, as it left him paralyzed from the neck down.
Courtesy a revolutionary new treatment, however, Kris Boesen is now regaining some control of his upper body – well over a year later.
Boesen suffered a traumatic cervical spine injury when his car fishtailed off a wet road, crashing into a tree and telephone pole. Paralyzed from the neck down after the accident, Boesen never expected to regain motor function again.
In an experimental new stem cell procedure, however, Charles Liu, MD, PhD, director of the USC Neurorestoration Center, in collaboration with Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and Keck Medicine of USC, injected an experimental dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells directly into Kris’ cervical spinal cord this past April.
“Typically, spinal cord injury patients undergo surgery that stabilizes the spine but generally does very little to restore motor or sensory function,” explains Liu. “With this study, we are testing a procedure that may improve neurological function, which could mean the difference between being permanently paralyzed and being able to use one’s arms and hands. Restoring that level of function could significantly improve the daily lives of patients with severe spinal injuries.”
Improvements in Kris’s motor function appeared quickly; within two weeks there were clear signs of improvement, and he was able to feed himself within two months of the treatment.
“As of 90 days post-treatment, Kris has gained significant improvement in his motor function, up to two spinal cord levels,” said Liu. “In Kris’ case, two spinal cord levels means the difference between using your hands to brush your teeth, operate a computer or do other things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, so having this level of functional independence cannot be overstated.”
This new, experimental medical branch is showing the immense value of neurorestoration and regenerative medicine. We’ll all be watching closely to see where Boesen goes from here!
Learn more in the video below:
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