China Medical University Hospital in Taichung has joined the China Spinal Cord Injury Network (ChinaSCINet) to conduct experiments into the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in treating patients with spinal damage, hospital sources said on Thursday.
The ChinaSCINet project, led by Wise Young from Rutgers University, is about to extend the successful results in animal testing to human volunteers in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. The team has already proven that lithium and umbilical cord blood can be helpful in reconnecting the neural systems of animals with spinal cord injuries.
Young told a press conference in Taipei that in the first stage, they will carry out experiments on lithium medicine and stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood to determine the effects of each therapy. In the second stage, they will combine the methods to study the effects on humans, he said.
ChinaSCINet will choose 400 participants in the Greater China region, including 60 from Taiwan, Young said.
Hospital deputy superintendent Lin Shinn-zong (林欣榮) said that ChinaSCINet would offer complete training on spinal cord injury experiments, while the hospital would provide an operational base and personnel needed for the network.
ChinaSCINet was launched by the University of Hong Kong in 2004 with the financial support of the university’s SCI Fund.
The Taipei Times
STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA