Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Medicine United Kingdom

Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk 161

New submitter tiberus sends word of a breakthrough medical treatment that has restored the ability to walk to a man who was paralyzed from the chest down after his spinal cord was severed in a knife attack. A research team from the UK, led by Professor Geoff Raisman, transplanted cells from the patient's nose, along with strips of nerve tissue from his ankle, to the place where the spine was severed. This allowed the fibers in the spinal cord to gradually reconnect. The treatment used olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) - specialist cells that form part of the sense of smell. ... In the first of two operations, surgeons removed one of the patient's olfactory bulbs and grew the cells in culture. Two weeks later they transplanted the OECs into the spinal cord, which had been cut through in the knife attack apart from a thin strip of scar tissue on the right. They had just a drop of material to work with - about 500,000 cells. About 100 micro-injections of OECs were made above and below the injury. Four thin strips of nerve tissue were taken from the patient's ankle and placed across an 8mm (0.3in) gap on the left side of the cord. ... Two years after the treatment, he can now walk outside the rehabilitation center using a frame.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

Comments Filter:
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MagickalMyst ( 1003128 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @02:23PM (#48197525)
    This is truly great!

    If only our daily "news" was filled with more with these types of stories than the typical FUD and propaganda perpetuated by these organizations.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @03:12PM (#48197957)

      Just the stories should be more accurate.

      The research was mostly in UK but surgery was in Poland:

      "Our team in Poland would be prepared to consider patients from anywhere in the world who are suitable for this therapy. They are likely to have had a knife wound injury where the spinal cord has been cleanly severed"

  • I can walk! But now the only thing I can smell is back sweat.
  • Interesting trick (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @02:32PM (#48197603)
    I read some time ago that the olfactory cells are one of the few nerve cells that maintains the ability to reproduce and create new connections, then it seems that the researchers basically created a "hard hack" with that. Interesting, and hopefully it will be applicable in many similar cases.
  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @02:36PM (#48197637) Journal

    Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

    Simon

    • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @02:49PM (#48197739)
      Most promising EBOLA vaccine currently in human trials was developed in Canada, another single-payer country.

      For-profit medicine is indisputably good at generating profit. Various outrageously priced targeted cancer treatments are ample evidence of this.
      • Unless it's different than the one I am thinking of: it was developed under US government grant.

        It wasn't the single-payor (or multi-payor) system that did it; but rather direct government investment in research.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Well yeah, more sick people means more profits for private for profit health industry and the supporting private for profit health insurance industry. So it is all about treat the symptoms not cure the illness what kind of communist are you ;)?

        Psychopaths rule, unfortunately I am not joking about that :(!

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        Most promising EBOLA vaccine currently in human trials was developed in Canada, another single-payer country.

        Lots of drugs are developed by non-US companies. They make all their profits selling them in the US, just like US companies do.

        If the US instituted price-controls on pharmaceuticals it would hit the bottom lines of the likes of GSK just as fast as it hit the bottom line of Pfizer. The location of a large company's headquarters has very little impact on anything other than how it manipulates its taxes/earnings/etc. Large companies source from the entire planet, and sell to the entire planet. The main exc

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

      According to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/heal... [bbc.co.uk]

      "The lack of financial incentive for the pharmaceutical industry could help explain why it has taken so long for the research to get this far. Using a patient's own cells to heal them means there is no profit for the pharmaceutical industry."

      But I'm not sure where the funding did come from, some at least came from the Polish government. The scientist mentioned in the BBC article works at UCL (University College London), which has a large NHS teaching/research h

    • Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

      What you're assuming is not true. Rich and upper middle class people in the UK still pay a fortune for private healthcare. Sometimes that's the only way to get around the rationed care and the impossibly long waiting lists of the UK public healthcare system.

      Also and more to the point, this particular research was funded by two foundations, both of which only seem to be funded through private corporations and private individuals.

      The groundbreaking research was supported by the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) and the UK Stem Cell Foundation (UKSCF). UKSCF was set up in 2007 to speed up progress of promising stem cell research - the charity has to date contributed 2.5m. NSIF was set up by chef David Nicholls after his son Daniel was paralysed from the arms down in a swimming accident in 2003. To date the charity has given £1m to fund the research in London and a further £240,000 for the work in Poland.

      Take a look at the list of corporate logos and the list of private patrons that

      • What you're assuming is not true. Rich and upper middle class people in the UK still pay a fortune for private healthcare. Sometimes that's the only way to get around the rationed care and the impossibly long waiting lists of the UK public healthcare system.

        Also and more to the point, this particular research was funded by two foundations, both of which only seem to be funded through private corporations and private individuals.

        So, what you are saying is that instead of funding a single payer system correctly, the rich and upper middle class keep voting UKIP and doing their level best to gut the UK single payer system?

        Take a look at the list of corporate logos and the list of private patrons that seem to back the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) [nsif.org.uk]. And take a look at the web site for the UK Stem Cell Foundation (UKSCF) [ukscf.org]. For that second Foundation, it's less clear who the backers are, but still I don't see anything crediting the British government for providing any of the funds.

        Great! Its wonderful to see private patrons acting in an altruistic manner. So...how much is that spinal treatment going to cost your average UKer when it becomes mainstream? How much would it cost your average American?

        Also on that note, I have no doubt that those two foundations will receive an avalanche of funding after this announcement (both private and public funding). That's usually how things go. Everybody will be wanting to be part of their success. Personally, I hope that this preliminary result isn't a scam. If this result is really true and can be replicated by other institutions, then it will mean the end of paralysis for many people. And I just hope that's true.

        Disclaimer: Please do not assume that I'm against the idea of national single-payer systems. I'm actually for single-payer systems, but I just don't think that the UK system is a particularly good example. My family has experienced the French single payer system, the British single payer system, in addition to the pre-Obama US healthcare system, and putting aside my critic of the pre-Obama US healthcare system, I find the French single payer system far better than the British one (although, it can be extremely expensive and wasteful as well).

        Oops! Too late. My bad. Having said that, however, I think its important to realize that the

  • Operation was performed in Poland by team led by Dr Tabakow. Professor Raisman developed his method enough to perform test on rats.From TFA: "In 2005, Prof Raisman was approached by a Polish neurosurgeon who had begun researching how to apply the technique in humans. Dr Tabakow carried out an initial trial involving three paralysed patients who each had a small amount of OECs injected in their damaged spinal cords."
  • Correlation does not imply causation.

    (ducks)

  • I've heard a rumour that he can also smell things behind him too!

    (yes I just started that rumour)

  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @02:51PM (#48197757)

    This is great. Now if we could only get a cell transplant that would allow idiots to think.

    • This is great. Now if we could only get a cell transplant that would allow idiots to think.

      Nooooo!!! Who would flip the hamburgers then? :-)

    • Finally a way to eliminate creationists, Republicans, anti-vaxxers, organic food consumers and climate change deniers from the human race!

  • Can someone clarify the discrepency here?

    Dr Tabakow carried out an initial trial involving three paralysed patients who each had a small amount of OECs injected in their damaged spinal cords. While none showed any significant improvement, the main purpose of the study was achieved, showing that the treatment was safe.

    Prof Wagih El Masri said: "Although the clinical neurological recovery is to date modest, this intervention has resulted in findings of compelling scientific significance."

    Darek Fidyka, who was paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack in 2010, can now walk using a frame.

    So the doctors think that going from paralyzed to walking is modest and insignificant? Were they not talking about the same patient? Something doesn't make sense here.

  • The man was from Poland, the operation was in Poland and was conducted by polish team in hospital in Poland.
    • Polish polish Polish polish polish polish Polish polish.
    • Here is a precise of the links:

      Prof Geoff Raisman, of UCL, has spent his career pursuing the dream of spinal cord regeneration. Nearly 30 years ago he showed that nerve cells in the lining of the nose constantly renew themselves. In animal studies, he demonstrated that paralysis in rats could be reversed by a transplant of specialist cells known as olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs).
      Dr Pawel Tabakow heads the Polish team of scientists in Wroclaw responsible for making the leap from animal research to hum
  • by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @04:15PM (#48198657)

    He has also recovered some bladder and bowel sensation and sexual function.

    I'm happy to not be paralyzed and certainly hope to stay that way. But, if I was... I think these functions might be even more important to me then getting my legs back. Don't get me wrong, not being able to stand or walk would really suck. But.. a person with no leg function might get along in a wheel chair. Shitting oneself and not being able to enjoy sex... there just isn't a chair for that.

  • Such a success is nothing to sneeze at.

  • every time he smells food his legs start shaking.

  • You guys are slipping and got scooped this morning. I usually hear about these things on the local news-traffic-n-weather radio station 2-3 days after I read about it on Slashdot. This story must've languished in the queue for a long time.

  • by Moskit ( 32486 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @05:06PM (#48199175)

    A research team from the UK, led by Professor Geoff Raisman, transplanted cells from the patient's nose

    RTFA.

    UK team researched it TOGETHER with Polish team. TFA mentiones both teams, and two leading doctors, one in UK, one in Poland.

    Polish team performed the actual transplantation (practical part). It was led by a Polish doctor.

    It's $%&^ Enigma all over again, "solved" by British who conveniently forgot it was Polish team who solved it first.

  • There has been a lot of dubious research in this area. Studies where only a small minority of the subjects of the experimental procedure had their results published, and a lot of work with patients where the spinal cord was not actually completely severed. At least some of the results are likely to come simply from insufficient retraining prior to the experimental procedures.

    Hopefully this one is actually true. We could really do with some good news in this area.

  • And George W. Bush and the Republicans, pandering to their funnymentalist base, close to stopped all stem cell research...

    And killed Superman.

    Hmmm, Dick cheney *does* seem to channel Lex Luthor....

                  mark

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

Working...