Paralyzed Man Regains Use of Arms and Hands with Experimental Stem Cell Therapy

Jul 10, 2019

Kristopher Boesen, a 20-year old native of Bakersfield suffered a cervical spine injury on March 6, which would have incapacitated him and paralyzed his body from the neck down.

Doctors told Kris’ parents that the likelihood that the damage would be permanent is high, but then they offered experimental treatment via stem cell therapy.

USC Neurostation Center director Charles Liu, in collaboration with Keck Medicine and Rancho Los Amigos Rehab Center, got the okay sign and injected a dose that contained ten million AST-OPC1 cells into Boesen’s spinal cord. This was in early April.

Liu explains that patients who get treated for spinal cord injury are limited only to keeping the spine stabilized and not to restore sensory or motor functions. With the experimental treatment, Liu and his team are looking into improving neurological function that can restore arm and hand movements, which could also affect the patient’s quality of life.

Just two weeks after the surgery took place, Boesen began to respond. In three months, he’s able to control a motorized wheelchair, write his name, use his cellphone and feed himself. Liu reported that after 90 days, Kris has regained some of his motor functions up to two spinal cord levels, which means that the patient now has the ability to brush his teeth, operate a computer or a smartphone and being able to function independently.

All Kris wanted was a fighting chance. He stated that if there was a possibility that he could walk again, he’d try it. Doctors are optimistic about Boesen’s progress but they’re cautious about predicting it.

The Window Of Qualification

In spine injuries, the window for surgery is tight, which means that if Boesen wanted to qualify for the experimental study everything had to go as planned.

When Kris gave his consent, rehab specialists, doctors and nurses started working. First, he would have to provide consent by vocal means, which meant that he had to be taken off a breathing ventilator. With the help of a professional respiratory team Kris was able to achieve the feat in just 5 days. After the paperwork was signed he had to undergo a series of scans, pre-surgery tests and other assessments.

In April, ten million AST-OPC1 stem cells were injected into Boesen’s cervical spine. After 6 weeks Kris was discharged and returned home. His progress was reviewed in 7, 30, 60 and 90 days, after which he will be evaluated after 180, 270 and 365 days.

Kris’ parents are amazed at the collaborative work between the specialists and health care providers. Boesen’s father stated how there were many things that needed to be completed before his son would be allowed to undergo the experimental treatment. Furthermore, he was touched that their son received world-class care from the start up until the present.

Details Of The Study

The experimental stem cell treatment is the latest in the medical industry’s effort to improve the lives of patients who have or are currently suffering from severe spinal cord injury.

The procedure is a part of Phase 1/2a trial that evaluates the potency and safety of AST-OPC1 cells that was created by Asterias Biotherapeutics, a California-based company. ASP-OPC1 comes from embryonic stem cells that were converted into OPCs, or oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, the same ones that could be found in the spinal cord and brain.

In previous laboratory tests, ASP-OC1 cells were able to induce remyelination, stimulate vascularization and produce neuropathic factors of denuded axons, which are all important factors in conduction, regrowth and survival of nerve impulses via axons found at the injured site. 

Asterias Chief Medical Director and Lead Investigator Edward Wirth III states that the ten million count in cell level is the magic number that gave the team results during the pre-clinical trials. The company is cautiously optimistic and strive to put safety above all else while checking how the stem cells could restore movement in injured patients.

Individuals aged between 18 to 69 may qualify for the trial. They must have a stable condition to receive the AST-OPC1 injection anywhere from the 14th to the 30th day after a spinal cord injury. Keck Medical Center is just 1 of 6 sites in the US authorized to administer the experimental treatment.

To your health,

The Healing Miracle Team

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23 Comments

  1. Sharmila

    Yes thanks for sharing. It is impressive.

    Reply
    • Patricia

      Yes I am grateful for the sharing. Thanks for this amazing story and Thanks to the young man and his family for giving permission to publish his story.

      Reply
    • Praksh Kesaree

      Great useful info, to keep in mind and to follow progress in stem cell treatment progress.

      Reply
    • Lavern Poppe

      Yes Yes
      I have been interested for some and using stemcellworx I am happy with it

      Reply
  2. Robin Ely MD

    Embryonic ? From what embryos were they harvested?

    Reply
    • THM Team

      Most of the stem cell therapy discussed in The Healing Miracle features stem cells harvested from the individual patient – in many cases from their own adipose tissue (also known as fat). There is also discussion around bone marrow stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells.

      Reply
  3. Olinda Paul

    thank YOU! I am hoping that someday they can do something for Tinnitus.

    Reply
  4. Jane

    Fascinating report. Hope more doctors and medical centers work as closely with stem cell patients.

    Reply
  5. RICHARD M FORREST

    Are they any options for optical neuropathy? Due to blood vessel damage?

    Reply
    • THM Team

      While we are unable to make specific recommendations about your personal health, a network of stem cell specialists is available to provide more personalized answers – http://www.StemCellHotline.net/today. They can connect you with a stem cell specialist in your area to answer the question, “Are Stem Cells Right For You?” and to help you find the solution that works best for you.

      Reply
  6. Linda Poulsen

    Does that work for arthroscopic in the knees and lower back when the collegan is deteriorating and you have bone on bone ?
    Is it available in Canada?

    Reply
    • THM Team

      While we are unable to make specific recommendations about your personal health, a network of stem cell specialists is available to provide more personalized answers – http://www.StemCellHotline.net/today. They can connect you with a stem cell specialist in your area to answer the question, “Are Stem Cells Right For You?” and to help you find the solution that works best for you.
      And yes it is available simple google searches of clinics near you should help.

      Reply
  7. Susie Bowman

    This is excellent news. I hope that the research continues to be successful. I just wish this was around when Christopher Reeves sustained his neck injury. I know every case is different, but I still wish it had been available.

    Reply
  8. Lorraine

    It’s great to hear that Stem cells are changing people’s lives. . Wonderful.

    Reply
  9. Warren Walker

    Can I be in your trial?

    I live in Vancouver, BC and suffered a haemorrhagic stroke which paralysed my left side 12 years ago.

    I’m doing far better (I walk with a cane) but still don’t have the use of my left arm or hand.

    Reply
    • THM Team

      The Healing Miracle works with a network of stem cell specialists is available to provide more personalized answers – http://www.StemCellHotline.net/today to answer the question, “Are Stem Cells Right For You?” They may have information on trials in your area.
      You can also check out this resource https://ipscell.com/find-a-clinical-trial/ which has US information and also has information on international locations as well.

      Reply
  10. Betty

    Yes, thank you. I’m so proud of this guy’s perseverance and bravery!!

    Reply
  11. M Paxton

    Its too bad this therapy is not available to all that need it what other hope do they have?

    Reply
  12. Anne Bourgeois

    Yes so astonishing !Is there such treatment in France?

    Reply
    • THM Team

      EuroStemCell (www.eurostemcell.org) is a network of scientists and academics, providing independent, expert-reviewed information and educational resources on stem cells. They may be able to assist you in locating a clinic in our area. We encourage you to consult with your own health care provider as well, to ensure your care is in the best possible hands.

      Reply
  13. Noah Messenger

    How do you sing up? I am a t12 spinal cord injury and have been looking for a study I would qualify for.

    Reply
    • THM Team

      The Healing Miracle works with a network of stem cell specialists is available to provide more personalized answers – http://www.StemCellHotline.net/today to answer the question, “Are Stem Cells Right For You?” They may have information on trials in your area.
      You can also check out this resource https://ipscell.com/find-a-clinical-trial/ which has US information and also has information on international locations as well.

      Reply

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