A Breakthrough for Spinal Injury Patients
Last year, medical teams from Poland and the UK collaborated on a new surgical cell transplant allowing 40-year-old Darek Fidyka to walk again. The new procedure gives hope to millions of physically impaired people around the world for whom spinal injuries have been a lifelong sentence of paralysis.
Fidyka was considered paralyzed from the waist down in 2010 after he was attacked with a knife, which severed his spinal cord.
According to the doctors who performed the surgery, olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) were removed from the patient’s nose and grown in a culture. Next, the OECs were transplanted into the spinal cord with about 100 micro-injections above and below the injury. Surgeons also used nerve tissue from the patient’s ankle to reinforce the spinal cord. The OECs provided a new pathway for fibers above and below the injury to reconnect and for communication to be reestablished.
The following video shows Darek Fidyka’s journey from being paralyzed to walking again.