Australian Spinal Cord Research Could Bring New Hope
Herald Sun, January 31, 2008
With the first Australian trial of a new adult stem cell treatment, the hope of improved movement for those with spinal cord injuries has been given a new boost.
In order to coordinate national and international research and apply it to patients, the new dedicated spinal cord laboratory at Melbourne's St. Vincent's Hospital. The facility is the first of it's kind in Australia and will be the location where the trial is conducted.
With no cure in sight and the cost of care at an estimated $1.2 billion, Australia sees a new spinal cord injury every single day.
"This is a major unmet medical need," said Dr. George Owen, head of Step Ahead Australia, (formerly the Spinal Cord Society of Australia).
After diving into a shallow pool 13 years ago, Dr. Owen's son Sam became a quadriplegic. Sam is now 26 years old.
New leads into the treatment and possible cure for spinal cord injury may be developed during the trial where scientists will work with a spinal cord “self-repair kit” using adult stem cells. The trials will be based on a discovery that was made by a West Australian stem cell expert.