We can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Japanese researchers will carry out an unprecedented trial using a kind of stem cell to try to treat spinal cord injuries.
The team at Tokyo’s Keio University had the support of the government for a trial using induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells — which have the potential to develop into any cell in the body — to treat patients with serious spinal cord injuries.
To carry out their trial, the trial will focus on four patients who suffered their injuries just 14 to 28 days beforehand. About two million iPS cells will be transplanted into the spines of the patients and monitored for a year.
This patients will have lost their sensory functions. This treatment, if successful, will confirm the safety of the transplanted cells and the method of the transplant, the researchers said.
iPS cells are created by stimulating mature, already specialised, cells back into a juvenile state — basically cloning without the need for an embryo.