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FDA Approves Human Trials for Cell Transplants at Miami Project

The Food and Drug Administration has given federal approval for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to conduct unprecedented human trials to transplant Schwann cells to the site of recent spinal cord injuries. According to the miamiherald.com, scientists hope that Schwann cells, which are found mainly in the nervous system, will help them find a cure for paralysis. These cells are responsible for transmitting through the nervous system the electrical signals or commands that the brain sends ordering our extremities to move.

A very common type of spinal cord injury is a contusion to the spinal cord at the area where the blunt force trauma occurred. The injured spinal cord cannot transmit the electrical signals sent by the brain ordering the extremities to move. Scientists hope to regenerate the damaged nerves and restore the “transmission” of these electrical signals. Considering that some stem cells have shown a remarkable ability to help regenerate damaged nerves, researchers have been using different kinds of cells in an effort to find the best type for this process.

This is what researchers at the Miami Project hope to achieve with Schwann cells during these clinical trials. Schwann cells have shown great promise helping neurons regrow myelin, which is the fatty insulation that covers nerve strands. Researchers with the Miami Project have for some time now been transplanting Schwann cells from the legs of paralyzed rats, mice, pigs and primates to the site of their spinal injury and have seen incredible results: in many cases, a 70% recovery of the lost sensation and function.

However, the process is more complicated than just finding the right kind of stem cells and a way to deliver them to the injured site. To complete the regenerative process, scientists use “signal proteins” as a “vehicle” to induce the stem cells into grouping together at the site of the injured tissue and to stick there for the duration of the regenerative process. However, the process is complicated by the fact that the body tends to absorb these “signal proteins” too fast for the regenerative process to be concluded. This has forced scientists to create devices that act as a “scaffold” that helps hold these stem cells in place for the duration of the regenerative process.

Keeping A Promise to Cure Paralysis

Marc Buoniconti, the quadriplegic son of Nick Buoniconti, a member of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, made the announcement. Marc suffered his injury in a football game and is the President of the Miami Project, an organization founded by his father in 1985 after promising him “that he would find a cure for paralysis and that everyone in wheelchairs would walk again”. The Miami Project is a Center for Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The cell-therapy based clinical trial for sub-acute spinal cord injury is the only one of its type currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. The trial will consist of eight patients between the ages of 18 and 50 who have suffered their spinal cord injury within five days. Researchers will get the Schwann cells from the patients’ legs, culture the cells for three to five weeks and then implant those cells at the site of the injuries within 26 to 40 days after the injury. Doctors hope that these nerve cells will grow and restore at least some function and sensation.

Long Rehabilitation Process

Unfortunately, victims of spinal cord injuries face a long and expensive specialized rehabilitation process, which is why those who have been the victims of a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a tractor-trailer accident, an amusement park accident or any other kind of accident caused by someone else’s negligence need the help of an experienced lawyer that can get them the funds they need for their rehabilitation therapy, as well as for their daily survival. It is very important that these victims (or their families) hire a lawyer quickly and allow this lawyer to begin working on their case immediately. Their attorney will then be in a position to do the same thing the attorneys for their opponents’ insurance companies are doing from the moment of the accident: preserving evidence and speaking with potential witnesses while the incident is fresh in their minds.

The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help

If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a tractor-trailer accident, an accident at an amusement park or any other kind of accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Car Accidents Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have represented victims of spinal cord injuries resulting from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, accidents at an amusement park or any other kind of accident caused by someone else’s negligence recover the compensation that may be owed to them.

Our attorneys have more than 67 years of combined experience helping accident victims. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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