Embryonic Nerve Cells Implant for Back Injuries

Dr. Scott Falci, of the Craig Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research, Denver, Colorado, USA, has performed in Uppsala, Sweden, for the first time a neurosurgical transplantation of human embryonic nerve cells to a patient with chronic spinal cord injury. The patient had develop scar tissue and a cyst in the spinal cord, causing loss of movement and sensation. The embryonic cells were placed in the spot, after removal of the scar tissue and cyst, in the hope that they would grow and fill the cavity, stopping further degeneration of the spinal chord. If the surgery works, this could be a revolutionary new procedure for treating many kinds of degenerative and injury-caused diseases in the brain. Currently, many countries (including the USA) do not allow the use of human embryonic cells for this purpose, however.

(February 10, 1997)