First Paralyzed Human Treated with Stem Cells Has Now Regained His Upper Body Movement

This is a story about Kristopher Boesen who has experienced a tragic car accident which ended severely for him. He was in a car accident which happened due to slippery road, and because of that he could not control the vehicle and hit a tree and a lamp pot. The consequences of this car accident were fatal for him, namely he got paralyzed from the neck down. The terrifying prognosis of the doctors was that he may never be able to move his body from the neck down.

Kristopher’s Endurance

Since he was in this devastating condition, he was given the opportunity to go through a procedure involving stem cells, which “have the capability to repair injured nervous tissue through replacement of damaged cells”.

This method was far from sure treatment, but since Kris had no other alternative he was willing to try it out. He has begun the stem cells treatment in April with the assistance of Dr. Liu, who injected 10 million AST-OPC1 cells straight into Kris’ cervical spinal cord.

Note: AST-OPC1 cells come from donated eggs which are fertilized in vitro, that is in a petri dish.

Dr. Liu was very much involved in this procedure which he monitored very carefully, he says, quoting:

“Typically, spinal cord injury patients undergo surgery that stabilizes the spine but does very little to restore motor or sensory function.

With this study, we are testing 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.”

The Outcome of the Therapy

Just after three weeks of therapy Kris noticed the first signs of amelioration. For two months he was able to talk on the phone, write words and control his wheelchair. Likewise, he restored his major motoric functions. Further on, Kris managed to regain two spinal cord levels that were accountable for his mobility. Surprisingly enough, he managed to bring back his basic movements, and experience independency once again.

Regarding his miraculous recovery, Kris states:

“All I’ve wanted from the beginning was a fighting chance…But if there’s an opportunity for me to walk again, then heck yeah! I want to do anything possible to do that.”

Kris was very fortunate to have this experimental treatment as it was extremely effective for him, thanks to which he managed to heal entirely, even though this was not his initial prognosis.

As a result of the great success with Kris, Dr. Liu and his team have also started collaboration with ‘associate faculty based in departments across KSOM and the University to study stem cell-driven new medicine‘, in order for this research to further develop.

Plenty of researching is being performed, and it is expected that the stem cell treatment can be effective in curing other diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.


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