Helped by the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund, Jennifer Bou Lahoud targets a career in neuroscience
Jennifer Bou Lahoud walks confidently, with purpose, in front of her USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences classmates with her diploma in hand. In her mind’s eye, at least, she walks as she used to, before the accident — the way she dreams she’ll someday walk again.
In 2008, the 16-year-old from West Covina, Calif., went on a ski trip with family and friends that took a tragic turn. Bou Lahoud skidded off her sled and slammed into a bed of rocks and packed snow.
“The moment I landed, I felt paralyzed,” she said. Everything she knew was about to change.
After laboratory mice received a contusive spinal cord injury at the T10 level, low and high doses of neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) derived from fetal bioluminescent-labeled transgenic mice were injected into four groups of mice at either the lesion epicenter or at rostral and caudal sites. A control group was similarly injected with phosphate buffered saline. The mice receiving the NS/PC cells experienced motor functional recovery while those in the control group did not.
It is known that transplanting neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) into the spinal cord promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI). However, which transplantation sites provide optimal benefit?
A large body of evidence shows that spinal circuits are significantly affected by training, and that intrinsic circuits that drive locomotor tasks are located in lumbosacral spinal segments in rats with complete spinal cord transection. However, after incomplete lesions, the effect of treadmill training has been debated, which is likely because of the difficulty of separating spontaneous stepping from specific training-induced effects.
According to a study published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 27, 2013), a rat model of spinal cord contusion at the T10 level was used to examine the effect of step training.
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to begin a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety of transplanting human Schwann cells to treat patients with recent spinal cord injuries.
We are not recruiting anybody until we obtain approval from our Institutional Review Board.
This trial is just 1 brick in the wall. We will continue working with our scientific colleagues to test other “bricks” in the wall to ultimately develop a strong defense to prevent or reverse the many effects of paralysis.
As of yet, scientists and researchers have not been able to completely reverse the damage caused by spinal cord injury, but a core group of experts in this fast-moving field have been making advances with therapies that can return function and make life easier for SCI patients.
On Nov. 5, the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at The Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, N.J., will be hosting a symposium for medical professionals to discuss advancement in treatment for SCI patients.
IHMC Unveils the MINA Robotic Device
PENSACOLA, Fla., April 5, 2011 — Today, Dr. Kenneth Ford, Director and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC), joined institute researchers to unveil Mina, a robotic exoskeleton developed to restore ambulation for individuals afflicted with paraplegia, hemiplegia, paresis, asthenia, and functional muscle loss. Developed by the IHMC robotics team led by Dr. Peter Neuhaus and Dr. Jerry Pratt, Mina acts as a pair of robotic legs that assist people, who have lost their ability to walk, in regaining upright mobility when outfitted with the device. Future applications of Mina are envisioned to span from rehabilitating those with stroke and spinal cord injuries, to augmenting human strength capabilities when operating in complex mobility environments.
Northwestern Medicine is the first site open for enrollment in a national clinical research trial of a human embryonic stem cell-based therapy for participants with a subacute thoracic spinal cord injury. Following the procedure, participants will receive rehabilitation treatment at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).
Northwestern also is the lead site of the trial, sponsored by Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN). The trial eventually will include up to six other sites and enroll up to 10 participants nationally.
Urinary bladder and renal dysfunction are secondary events associated with spinal cord injury (SCI) in humans. These secondary events not only compromise quality of life but also delay overall recovery from SCI pathophysiology.
Furthermore, in experimental models the effects of SCI therapy on bladder and renal functions are generally not evaluated. In this study, we tested whether simvastatin improves bladder and renal functions in a rat model of experimental SCI.
The spinal cord injury patient cases do not only highlight the life-saving benefits of stem cell treatment, they also provide a boost to the struggle for the acceptance of stem cell therapy as a recognized field in the medical profession.
– Now, Rohan has got the sensational recovery besides having some power in his legs & he can stand holding walker & caliper, giving a small support to his right leg, after undergoing autologous bone marrow stem cell treatment from one of the hospital in Chennai in 2007.
It has been six months since a nasty bicycle spill on Northwoods Boulevard left Truckee resident Scott Gledhill with a severe spinal cord injury and a prognosis that he would never walk again.
Recovery has been long and arduous, and the battle is not yet won, but Gledhill says the fight to walk is far from over.
“The only thing I can accept is that life moves at a slower pace,” Gledhill, 41, says. “But I won’t accept that when I am 50 I’ll still be in a wheelchair.”