Paralyzed Man Treated With Stem Cells Regains Movement!

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Kristopher Boesen was driving on a slippery road when he lost control of his car.  This accident would change his life, as when he woke up in the hospital, he was unable to move anything from the neck down.

However, Kristopher didn't give up. 

He enrolled in a research study at the Keck Medical Center of USC in California where a team of doctors inject his spine with an experimental treatment made from stem cells.

What are Stem Cells?

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Stem cells are the body's raw materials — cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.

These daughter cells either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or become specialized cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle or bone. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types."

Charles Liu, MD, PhD, director of the USC Neurorestoration Center

In April, Dr. Liu injected an experimental dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 stem cells into Kris’ spinal cord.

Dr. Liu said, “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.”

Two weeks later, Kris started showing signs of improvement.

And after 3 months, Kris gained "significant" improvement in motor function, regaining the ability to brush his teeth, use a computer and cell phone, and control a motorized wheel chair.  He's also had an improvement in physical sensation, making it easier for him to care for himself.

Doctor's aren't making any promises, but they plan to keep experimenting.

The research study, a Phase 1/2a clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of the AST-OPC1 cells is sponsored by Asterias Biotherapeutics.  These cells are made by converting embryonic stem cells into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that are usually found in the brain and spinal cord.  In previous studies, these cells were shown to produce neurotrophic factors, stimulate vascularization and induce remyelination of denuded axons, important for regrowth and conduction of nerve impulses.

Kris's future looks brighter now

"If I was there and I was able to thank them, I would just tell them, ‘Thank you for giving (me) my life back.  Thank you for allowing me to live my life again'" said Boesen to Fox 5 Atlanta.

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