Doctors at the USC Neurorestoration Center and Keck Medicine of USC injected an experimental treatment* made from stem cells and other cells into the damaged cervical spine of a recently paralyzed 21-year-old man as part of a multi-center clinical trial.
Two weeks after surgery, Kristopher (Kris) Boesen began to show signs of improvement. Three months later, he’s able to feed himself, use his cell phone, write his name, operate a motorized wheelchair, and hug his friends and family. Improved sensation and movement in both arms and hands also make it easier for Kris to care for himself, and to envision a life lived more independently.
“Typically, spinal cord injury patients undergo surgery that stabilizes the spine but generally does very little to restore motor or sensory function,” explains Charles Liu, MD, PhD, director of the USC Neurorestoration Center. “With this study, we are testing a procedure that may improve neurological function, which could mean the difference between being permanently paralyzed and being able to use one’s arms and hands. Restoring that level of function could significantly improve the daily lives of patients with severe spinal injuries.”