21-year-old Kristopher (Kris) Boesen was involved in a car accident. The vehicle he drove on a wet road, hit a tree and slammed into a telephone pole. Boesen lost consciousness and was at the hospital when he woke up.
However, Kristopher was paralyzed when he woke up. According to the reports, his cervical spine suffered a traumatic injury after the crash. Both the car and the patient were broken and many doctors said that he would be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life.
Despite that fact, the doctors also said that Kris qualified for a clinical study that may help him. After the successful treatments of Charles Liu, director of the USC Neurorestoration center, and a group of physicians from the Keck Medical Center, Kries was able to receive mobile of his upper body.
The group of doctors became the first in California to inject patients involved with the trial with an experimental treatment made from stem cells – the results have been positive up to now.
Lie explained that “Typically, spinal cord injury patients undergo surgery that stabilizes the spine but generally does very little to restore motor or sensory function. 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.”
An experimental dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells was injected into Kris’s body in April. In a matter of few weeks, Boesen began to show some improvements and within three months of treatments, he was able to feed himself, write his name, hug his friends, use his self phone and even operate a moderate wheelchair.
In September, Lie said:
“As of 90 days post-treatment, Kris has gained significant improvement in his motor function, up to two spinal cord levels. In Kris’ case, two spinal cord levels mean 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.”
Thanks to these treatments, the 21-year-old is beginning to envision a future where he might be able to live independently. Boesen said:
“All I’ve wanted from the beginning was a fighting chance. But if there’s a chance for me to walk again, then heck yeah! I want to do anything possible to do that.”
This surgery is the latest example of how the field of neuro restoration and regenerative medicine might allow victims of accidents to reclaim their mobility and lead to effective lives. Moreover, stem cell research is ongoing and it is said that it might even allow treating patients with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and even cancer.
What do you think about future treatments for paralyzed patients? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below.