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Ten frequently asked questions concerning cure of spinal cord injury

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  • Yes, there will be a cure and it will be useful for people with "complete" spinal cord injury. Wise.

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    • Dr Young,
      This may not be the right place for my question. I'm a new member since my brother's recent C6-7 SCI, and we have been following California's Proposition 71 and the focus on stem cell research in the national election very intently. Do you think stem cell implant human trials are only 2 years away in California (as quoted by one researcher), and do you think the focus on stem cells in California will affect the research into olfactory cells, Schwann cells and other cures currently underway at other SCI centers?
      Dorthe

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      • Dorthe,

        Geron (Menlo Park, CA) is supposed to begin a human clinical trial sometime in 2005 using their own line of ESC's for ACUTE SCI only.

        It is my understanding they have no plans to try this on chronics anytime soon.

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        • dr. young-
          What would need to be in place in order to maintain regular male functioning, meaning sensation and ejaculation? How complex is the circuitry in the Lumbosacral spinal cord? Is it not realistic to hope for full return of sexual functioning after it has been absent 5 years post sci? Is it reasonable to believe that therapies may restore functioning and sensation to sci males' sexual organs? Could this be achieved without the use of embryonic stem cells? What do you see under the microscope when studying regneration in the sacral spinal cord? are there wild female undergrads at Rutgers?

          sherman brayton
          sherman brayton

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          • Sherman, the sacral sympathetic nuclei at S2, I believe, innervate the penis. I think that it may not be necessary to rebuild the nucleus and it may be possible to simply bridge another nerve. I really haven't thought this clearly through because your problem is a little unusual. I am also not quite sure that I understand the distribution of your injury.

            Wise.

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            • Originally posted by Dorthe:

              Do you think stem cell implant human trials are only 2 years away in California (as quoted by one researcher), and do you think the focus on stem cells in California will affect the research into olfactory cells, Schwann cells and other cures currently underway at other SCI centers?
              Dorthe
              Is this a fact Dr.Young?

              "everyday above ground is a good day"
              "everyday above ground is a good day"

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              • Willwalk, I think that it will be other way around. The Prop 71 funding will produce a renaissance of funding for all kinds of cell therapeutics research in California. Although the text of the legislation says that they want the bond funds to pay for research that would not be otherwise covered by federal funds, they have allocated $300 million for infrastructural development. That means $300 million to build new facilities and provide instrumentation that can be used to study all types of cells besides embryonic stem cells. I believe that understanding of the biology of embryonic stem cells will markedly accelerate therapies using adult stem cells or adult differentiated cells. The funding will attract industry to establish cell therapeutics laboratories in California; these groups will not be studying only embryonic stem cells. Finally, there will be a lot of interest in combination therapies.

                I don't think that any of this will detract from other therapies of spinal cord injuries. The only way that it might is if they have so many clinical trials that there are not enough people with spinal cord injury to join the trials. We should be so lucky!

                Wise.

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                • "On the other hand, I believe that there will be effective therapies that will restore function to people with spinal cord injury, including touch and pain sensations, bladder and bowel function, erection and ejaculation, and motor control including long-distance walking"

                  Can this level of return be available before 8 years?/

                  If long distance walking was the only excercise I had to do it would wonderful.

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                  • "On the other hand, I believe that there will be effective therapies that will restore function to people with spinal cord injury, including touch and pain sensations, bladder and bowel function, erection and ejaculation, and motor control including long-distance walking"

                    Is there any chance of this within 5 years? I need long distance walking....

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                    • Dr. Young,
                      In case you haven't heard it lately, from the bottom of my heart (and I'm sure from more people than I can guess) thank you and thanks to all the other researchers around the world who are dedicating yourselves to improving our lives. And I would encourage others to extend their appreciation to those who are working towards this goal.

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                      • Aten, thank you.

                        Chris2, when you are depressed, you always ask these questions. I am not sure that I can give you answer that will be satisfactory. The hope has to come from within. I think that the first thing that depression does is to remove hope from your brain.

                        Wise.

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                        • That's very true Wise

                          the problem is one of the triggers for my depression is thinking that i have been relying on something which is science fiction

                          it's then very easy in my depressed state to 'know' there is no hope

                          If something's NEVER happened before then it's much easier to argue that it will never happen

                          Then a look at all the ageing with paraplegia articles are the last straw

                          But easily my best sci years were when I believed in a cure

                          [This message was edited by Chris2 on 11-25-04 at 07:11 PM.]

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                          • Wise,

                            Why can't you answer my question?

                            "some of the treatments will be shown to be effective in 4 years"

                            How is this likely to impact a T7 complete 22 year term paraplegic like myself? Is "On the other hand, I believe that there will be effective therapies that will restore function to people with spinal cord injury, including touch and pain sensations, bladder and bowel function, erection and ejaculation, and motor control including long-distance walking" only going to happen many years from now because I don't believe I'll make it that far.

                            Yes - and I badly need treatment for my depression also

                            Thanks

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                            • Recovery

                              Wise, you are probily one of the few doctors I have ever heard that make since. It took me just about 4 1/2 years to plateau. It was a rough 5th year finally dealing with my injury, but that too passed. After plateauing and dealing with the mental stuff, I was able to turn back to my family and new profession I was forced to undertake. So recovery does come to people a lot further past injury than a year.

                              J Clark
                              J Clark

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                              • Chris2,

                                I'm not qualified to answer your question, but I see all the previous lab work like it's running into a brick wall. With the approaching advent of the China Clinical Trial Network, we now have a door for these lab results to pass through.

                                Even better is the fact that we have Dr. Young working with other top SCI researchers that will filter through these therapies. There is no doubt in my mind, Dr. Young will only allow the most promising treatments to trial.

                                South Korea is pursuing stem cell based SCI treatments aggressively, clearly stating these will be widely available by 2006.

                                The Russians have "declared" they are out of clinical trials and in the treatment phase NOW with OEC's. "Supposedly" they now in the phase of teaching treated persons how to walk again. This is unsubstantiated, however.

                                I "feel" by 2006-2008 there may be some relieve in sight. How much relieve is unknown.

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