“Arise, take up thy bed,” Christ commanded a paralyzed man, according to the Gospel of Matthew. The man “arose and departed.” Healing a paralytic is miraculous… But it may soon become an everyday miracle of science, rather than a rare miracle of faith.
In April 2011, the Washington Post reported that the first patient to receive a human embryonic stem-cell treatment for paralysis from a spinal-cord injury had regained some feeling in his legs.
The world’s first test on patients of a treatment for spinal cord injury using human embryonic stem cells is so far proving safe, one year after the first of four patients received injections.
The treatment, developed by researchers at UC Irvine, involves injection of neural cells derived from human embryonic stem cells into the site of a spinal cord injury within seven to 14 days — known as “acute” injuries, as opposed to longer-term injuries known as “chronic.”
None of the patients has experienced any adverse reactions from the treatment, according to Geron Corp., which is conducting the trials, although a few “mild” adverse reactions were reported from a drug used to suppress the patients’ immune responses.
In May 2011, UC Irvine opened the doors to the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, a 100,000 square foot facility that cost nearly $80 million to construct.
The center ushered in a new future for stem cell research. Being the first major stem cell research facility in Southern California, the scientists here at UC Irvine have already begun to prove the benefits of the research that they are doing here.