At Keio University in Japan researchers are making headlines with the prospective treatments they will begin to look into for those who suffer from permanent spinal cord injuries.
This study itself is directed towards patients who have suffered complete spinal cord injuries (meaning they have lost motor function), however if successful one can only imagine the benefits for those who suffer from incomplete spinal cord injuries too. This research study will be treating patients within the first four weeks of their accident which (as mentioned by the writer of the above article, Kyodo) is the most imperative time to reduce chronic or long term affects.
“When a patient is presented who has lost motor function or sensation due to damage to their spinal cord, the researchers will inject the neural stem cells to encourage nerve regeneration” (Kyodo 1). Unfortunately this research is not targeting those who have been injured for 6 months or longer, however, with the results of this study one can only imagine the future that this type of medical science holds for those suffering with permanent motor loss.
The research itself will be headed by Hideyuki Okano who teaches at the school of medicine in Keio University. For this treatment they will be utilizing pluripotent cells; cells found in the early stages of creation that can create any type of cell except for a living organism. This means that the potential effects of the stem cell treatments can be life-changing for those who find themselves in serious vehicle or sports-related incidents. These treatments could possibly reverse any permanent or long term damage to the spinal cord.
Science is continuing to grow and expand and it is exciting to be in a life time where this research is even possible.