In a major breakthrough, scientists in Korea report using umbilical cord blood stem cells to restore feeling and mobility to a spinal-cord injury patient.
The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Cythotherapy, centered on a woman who had been a paraplegic 19 years due to an accident.
After an infusion of umbilical cord blood stem cells, stunning results were recorded:
“The patient could move her hips and feel her hip skin on day 15 after transplantation. On day 25 after transplantation her feet responded to stimulation.”
Umbilical cord cells are considered “adult stem cells,” in contrast to embryonic stem cells, which have raised ethical concerns because a human embryo must be destroyed in order to harvest them.
The report said motor activity was noticed on day 7, and the woman was able to maintain an upright position on day 13. Fifteen days after surgery, she began to elevate both lower legs about one centimeter.
The study’s abstract says not only did the patient regain feeling, but 41 days after stem cell transplantation, testing “also showed regeneration of the spinal cord at the injured cite” and below it.
The scientists conclude the transplantation “could be a good treatment method” for paraplegic patients.