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New Hope for Future Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Victims

Oct 15, 2015 - Spine Injury by

The spinal cord is an essential part of the anatomy, transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body. However, its delicate design makes it prone to severe injury. Each Charlotte spine injury attorney at our firm has seen too many clients who suffered irreparable, life-changing damage to their spinal cords caused by anything from auto accidents to slip-and-fall incidents. Thanks to the dedication of certain researchers, some future spinal cord injury (SCI) victims have a chance for a cure.

A Second Chance for an Experimental Stem Cell Treatment

In an important first step a number of years ago, a drug company backed a clinical trial focused on repairing nerve function for certain SCI victims. Their initial tests proved to the FDA that the therapy is safe, but according to WGN TV, they ended the research to focus on other medical therapies. But now a researcher at Rush University Medical Center has taken up the mantle again, recruiting a limited number of clinical trial volunteers to continue this important work.

The new therapy essentially involves injecting stem cells directly into the spine at the bottom of an injury, and it could result in restoration of some or all function to the arms and hands of certain patients. Since it is still early in the research process, all details are not yet available, but certain limitations are already known, including the following:

  • It requires a degree of remaining functionality in the area of injury.
  • Patient ages should range from 18 through 65 at the time of injury.
  • Treatment must begin about 14 to 30 days following the date of injury
  • While crush injuries may qualify for treatment, puncture injuries are not considered treatable.
  • Patients with prior conditions or organ damage might not qualify.

The Importance of Clinical Trials

The current researchers working on this new treatment benefit greatly by taking on a therapy that already received prior FDA acknowledgment of its safety. This recognition alone makes it more likely to attract clinical trial volunteers, who represent a vital component for creating a recognized treatment. Even if the treatment helps only a fraction of about 12,500 new SCI victims each year, it can make a dramatic difference to the normalcy of their lives.

Still, this one treatment will not help the majority of SCI victims, whose lifetime costs can range from an estimated $1.1 million to $4.7 million, depending on age and severity of injury. When these debilitating injuries are caused by the negligent acts of others, victims need to turn to legal advocates who understand the specific issues involved in litigating these cases — and the ability to recommend specialized medical resources to clients. Call us at 844-452-3688 or use our convenient online contact form before filing a claim to discuss how we can help.