The first patient to receive a human embryonic stem cell injection in October last year has reported increased feeling in his legs.
Where the patient, Timothy J. Atchison previously had no sensation at all, he now feels slight relief when a bowling ball is lifted from his lap and slight discomfort when hair on his legs is pulled.
This patient was the first in the clinical trial of this new stem cell treatment for people with acute spinal cord injuries.
Report Unofficial, Results May Be Unrelated to Treatment
The report is unofficial and researchers are emphasizing that it is far too early in the trial to make any conclusions about the effectiveness of the treatment.
Hans Keirstead, the stem cell researcher who invented the treatment used on the patient, is optimistic about the news, but emphasizes that this patient’s impressions will have no bearing on the official report on clinical trial results.
Experts are stressing that spinal cord injury patients sometimes regain sensation and mobility on their own, so it is impossible to determine if the treatment is effective based on one patient’s experiences.
Clinical Trial Will Move Forward, Effectiveness Still to be Tested
This first trial is simply aiming to determine the safety of the procedure and the tolerance levels patients exhibit. The actual effectiveness of the treatment will be evaluated in another clinical trial in the future.