Endparalysis foundation about BBC breaking news “Paralysed man walks again after cell treatment”
October 2014. Corinne Jeanmaire was recently interviewed by the Dutch newspaper AD regarding Pr Raisman’s success story “Paralysed man walks again after cell treatment” (Double-click on picture to read the article/ in Dutch). To summarize: we welcome this positive and promising development, even though it should be highlighted that this is only ONE patient, with a very particular lesion pattern (his spinal cord was clearcut and the lesion was very ”clean”. Most injuries are much more ”messy” and involve some level of contusion of the spinal cord). His progress is real though, and the science behind is solid. Even though the man is not (yet) really ”walking” unlike most media reported (he is actually moving by using the strength of his upper body and his legs are supported by leg braces, which is a usual therapeutic exercise for many paraplegic people.), the scientific details published by the team of Pr Raisman do show some level of functional recovery (the patient has recovered some level of muscle control), some return of sensation, and imaging seems to indicate that axons grew and found their way to targets, both up and down the cord. This is very significant progress for the patient.
So, what does it tell us? It does tell us that functional recovery after a chronic spinal cord injury has become a realistic endeavor. Not just through this particular therapy but also thanks to other very promising developments in the field. This OEC (nose cells) + nerve grafts therapy might be a piece of the very complex puzzle that researchers and scientists are trying to solve. Will it be enough? The numerous types of spinal cord injuries will probably require a combination of various strategies. We are looking forward to the next steps (a clinical trial with a much bigger number of subjects) to confirm the potential of this particular therapy.
In the meantime, a lot of work remains to be done. The potential of spinal cord injury research is becoming bigger and bigger. We all need to enable this potential through our support. Only then can functional recovery after spinal cord injury become a reality. When? We need to help accelerate this very long process through our engagement. The Endparalysis foundation aims to do just that!