Japanese Researchers Will Use Stem Cells to Treat Spinal Cord Injuries in Groundbreaking Clinical...
There could a new form of treatment in Japan for spinal cord injuries if a newly-approved clinical trial hits the mark.
On Monday, a special committee of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan approved a clinical research program at Tokyo’s Keio University to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to treat spinal cord injuries. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, this is a groundbreaking first-of-its-kind study. The clinical trial is expected to begin this summer.
Chief among their worries is insufficient evidence that the therapy works.
Japan has approved a stem-cell treatment for spinal-cord injuries. The event marks the first such therapy for this kind of injury to receive government approval for sale to patients.
“This is an unprecedented revolution of science and medicine, which will open a new era of healthcare,” says oncologist Masanori Fukushima, head of the Translational Research Informatics Center, a Japanese government organization in Kobe that has been giving advice and support to the project for more than a decade.
In a win-win outcome for patients with spinal cord injuries and Japanese startup tech company Ory Lab, robotic waiters are working full shifts, allowing spinal cord injury sufferers to work by proxy.
Technological innovations, whether nano-sized or full-scale, have been offering a range of surprising capabilities that offer improvements in quality of life or life expectancy.
In fewer areas, the impact has been more dramatic than with people suffering from various spinal cord injuries.
In the course of three years, Taylor Graham has accomplished many things: Survived a motorcycle accident, adjusted to a spinal cord injury and a new life in a wheelchair, picked up the sport of wheelchair tennis, graduated from Southeast Community College, and even got married.
So what could possibly be next?
“We have a goal of competing in the Paralympics in 2020,” said Kevin Heim, his wheelchair tennis coach.
TOKYO — Japan’s health ministry approved on Wednesday sale of a wearable walk-assist robot for use in medical facilities, underscoring the government’s push to promote such products as part of growth strategy.
The HAL for Medical Use, lower limb type, from startup Cyberdyne is the first wearable medical robot approved for sale in Japan.
The product is designed for use in healthcare facilities by patients with eight incurable conditions including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, given height and weight requirements.
Spinal cord injuries that result in paraplegia may one day be treatable using a technique that bypasses the damaged neural pathways that connect the brain to the spinal locomotor center. The researchers, from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, have demonstrated how the computer-controlled bypass circuit allowed a subject to use hand movements to initiate walking.