Today I read news about successful treatment of spinal code injury.
In general damage of some nerves are extremely difficult to treat, because nerve cells are deemed not to regenerate. Spinal code injury is one example causing permanent impairment of movement. However, a man who had been paralyzed since 2010 due to a back injury has recovered, and now can walk using a frame.
BBC News Health: Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant
Amazingly, the team of University College London's Institute of Neurology utilized his own olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) transplanted into his spinal code. The procedure was published in "Cell Transportation", an academic journal.
Pubmed: Transplantation of autologous olfactory ensheathing cells in complete human spinal cord injury.
According to the authors, OECs has proved to have a power to enhance the regeneration of some nerve cells in animal experiments. This study is a nonrandomized controlled trial. They performed the surgery in which cultured OECs were transplanted into spinal code to 3 patients suffering from complete spinal code injury. The effect of the treatment differs by patients, but all of the recipients were somewhat improved in physical function, compared to the patients received usual rehabilitation program. It is noteworthy that this procedure includes minimal invasion to the body.
Regeneration medicine has a dreamy impression. But it is extremely rare to be realized. More than a decade ago, I read a report of successful re-connection surgery of an separated arm in New England Journal of Medicine. I do not know about current status of the patient. Even now, regeneration of nerves looks a kind of fantasy. I truly admire the researchers engaging in this region.