For the first time ever, neuroscientists have treated a total quadriplegic with stem cells, and he has substantially recovered the functions of his upper body only two months into the process.
The Keck Medical Center of USC announced that a team of doctors became the first in California to inject an experimental treatment made from stem cells, AST-OPC1, into the damaged cervical spine of a recently paralyzed 21-year-old man as part of a multi-center clinical trial.
On March 6, just shy of his 21st birthday, Kristopher (Kris) Boesen of Bakersfield suffered a traumatic injury to his cervical spine when his car fishtailed on a wet road, hit a tree, and slammed into a telephone pole. He was paralyzed from the neck down.
In an experimental procedure, doctors injected an experimental dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells directly into Kris’ cervical spinal cord in early April.
“As of 90 days post-treatment, Kris has gained significant improvement in his motor function, up to two spinal cord levels,” said Dr. Liu. “In Kris’ case, two spinal cord levels means the difference between using your hands to brush your teeth, operate a computer or do other things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, so having this level of functional independence cannot be overstated.”