Brackenridge could be test site for treatment of patients who are paralyzed
Trial would need US government approval and approval at hospital level.

By Mary Ann Roser
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Raising its profile in the research world, the University Medical Center at Brackenridge is hosting a summit of scientists seeking to launch a U.S. stem cell trial for people who are paralyzed or have other spinal cord injuries.

The hospital could be among eight nationally, including Mount Sinai in New York and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, studying a possible treatment for people who have no other options. Various approvals must be granted for the trial to go forward.

"I feel very confident there's going to be a lot of good news for somebody who's got a spinal cord injury," said Dr. Tom Caven, medical director of University Medical Center.

Internationally known researcher Dr. Wise Young, a neuroscience professor and founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers university in New Jersey, is leading the summit.

At a news conference today he is set to describe the trial he hopes will one day lead to a cure for people who have been through rehabilitation but can't use their arms, legs or hands.

"I hope it will get us back on our feet regardless of how long ago our injuries" happened, said C.J. Brown of McDade, who was 23 on Feb. 4, 2008, when he was working on a roof and fell 23 feet, breaking his neck.