Spinal Cord Patients Receive Own Stem Cells For Treatment

Ed. Note: The following is a press release from University College, London.

November 30, 2005-- British scientists say they have, for the first time, attempted to treat paralyzed spinal cord injury patients with the patients' own stem cells.

University College London researchers said although it is not the first time such a transplant has been attempted, the event is remarkable because, unlike earlier efforts, it rests on a 40-year program of animal research and has an established scientific pedigree, The London Telegraph reported.

Scientists say the outlook for such procedures has brightened since they discovered there is only one part of the nervous system in which nerve fibers are in a state of continuous growth. The nerves are at the top of the nose and are concerned with the sense of smell.

The director of the Spinal Repair Unit at UCL, Dr. Geoffrey Raisman, announced Tuesday his team will harvest nasal cells to treat at least 10 patients in a pilot study early next year at London's National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

"I have spent my research career in trying to find a treatment for spinal cord injury, and I never anticipated that we would get this far when I started out,", Dr. Raisman stated.