Monthly Archives: November 2011
Researchers have found a possible breakthrough for spinal cord injuries with a find that a one-time injection of a protein into the cord immediately after an injury can limit pain for an extended period of time.
The researchers led by the Cleveland Clinic found that the naturally existing protein in humans, fibronectin, supports the survival, growth and communication of neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
David McCauley can barely move his right hand and can’t move the fingers on his left. But the Jersey City resident is moving crowds with his art and his drive to “Rise Up” above his disability.
In 2008, McCauley sustained a spinal cord injury during a diving accident which left him paralyzed from the chest down. With support from his loved ones and innovative body weight support training, McCauley has been able to improve his health and managed to find new ways to express himself.
Eythor Bender’s Ekso Bionics makes powered, wearable robots known as “exoskeletons”
Given that the firm with the most money has just quit, questions about how to succeed are rampant.
Geron, a pioneer in stem cell research founded in 1990, announced on November 14 that it was halting its stem cell therapeutics programs to conserve funds. It plans on laying off 38% of its 175-person staff and is seeking partners to take on the programs’ assets.
Geron had been developing cell products from differentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) for multiple indications. The company is viewed as the leader in stem cell therapies because of its patents on technology used to grow, manipulate, and inject stem cells into the human body. It helped finance researchers at the University of Wisconsin who first isolated human embryonic stem cells in 1998, allowing the cells to be grown in the laboratory.
Taylor Weber lies belly-down on the carpet of the Parkway Plaza Hotel, aiming an electronic rifle across a nearly empty hallway.
He props himself on his elbows and steadies the weapon. His target is 10 meters away — a gray box with five bull’s-eyes, each about the size of a golf ball.
There’s no shot when he pulls the trigger. Instead, a robotic voice with a Finnish accent speaks from a laptop to Weber’s right.
“You hit,” it says. “6.29 o’clock.”
Weber’s empty wheelchair sits several feet away. Behind it, a small group of athletes kill time by checking cell phones and chatting with one another.
For patients paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, Geron Corp.’s stem cell research was the shining hope.
The biotech firm showered scientists with millions of dollars to develop a treatment to reverse spinal damage. The therapy was the first treatment derived from embryonic stem cells to be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for testing in humans.
But last week, Geron abruptly pulled the plug on its pioneering trial and the rest of its stem cell business, including early work on treatments for heart ailments, diabetes and other diseases. Pursuing futuristic cures through regenerative medicine was financially riskier than focusing on the company’s two cancer drugs, which were further along in development, company executives said.
People who had pinned their hopes on stem cells reacted with dismay.
For Laurie Kammer, Long Process of Healing is Well Under Way
Laurie Kammer, 27, is a daughter, a sister, a dancer, a ukulele player, a graphic artist, a young woman and a friend to many here in town, where she grew up and went to high school, graduating in 2003.
Since June, Laurie has also been paralyzed from the waist down after she fell from a tree in New Jersey.
After graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in graphic design, Laurie had moved to New Jersey in 2009 to live with her brother, John, and his wife, Maria. She worked as a nanny for the couple’s two children.
This past summer, on June 9, she and a friend were in a tree house. They were about 15 feet up, she said, when a board she was standing on collapsed.
(Medical Xpress) — The Stanford University School of Medicine and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center treated the fifth patient in the Geron Corp-sponsored trial of a human embryonic-stem-cell-derived treatment for severe spinal cord injury on Nov. 16.
The patient, who is the second to be treated at Stanford and SCVMC, was enrolled in the trial before Geron announced on Nov. 14 that it was discontinuing the trial. The patient elected to undergo the procedure after being informed of the trial’s status.
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have developed a promising new treatment for spinal cord injury in animals, which could eventually prevent paralysis in thousands of people worldwide every year.
Dr Ben Goss, from the Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) at QUT, is part of a research team investigating how to prevent the spinal cord from degenerating after an injury.
“The initial injury to the spinal cord is much like a bruise,” he said.
“However, unlike ordinary bruises the spinal cord has a persistent inflammatory response that leads to further damage.
Spinal cord injury is one of the world’s major unsolved health-care challenges, affecting not only the individuals who live with it but also their families. It requires specialized treatment and long-term care, amounting to billions of dollars annually in Canada. As Tracy’s story illustrates, once surgery and rehabilitation are complete, the challenges faced can be relentless – from painful secondary health complications to multiple barriers to reintegration.