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Thread: Paraplegic backing for stem cell trials in New Zealand

  1. #1

    Paraplegic backing for stem cell trials in New Zealand

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times...em-cell-trials

    Paraplegic backing for stem cell trials
    MARYANNE TWENTYMAN Last updated 05:00 22/01/2011

    CHRIS HILLOCK/Waikato Times BACKING RESEARCH: He may not fit the criteria but Hamilton paraplegic Frank Pennington is hopeful that new spinal cord treatment trials will one day benefit him.
    Hamilton paraplegic Frank Pennington will never forget being told he would never walk again.

    "It was about two hours after my accident and those words went searing into my soul," he said.

    That was 21 years ago last month, and though Mr Pennington doubts he will ever walk again, he is overjoyed that the Spinal Cord Society has been successful in winning approval for the country's first clinical trial using adult stem cells to treat people with spinal injuries.

    "Who knows, in a few years the trial could result in treatment I could be included in and that would be incredible."

    Mr Pennington is a committee member of the Spinal Cord Society but credits president Noela Vallis, of Matamata, with having the dogged determination to get the trials under way.

    "I don't know how she [Mrs Vallis] didn't give up – she had so many knock backs but she kept going," he said.

    The Health Ministry multi-region ethics committee gave its okay this week and plans are already under way to find eligible candidates for the trial later this year. It will involve a dozen people confined to wheelchairs having stem cells from inside their nose injected into the site of their spinal injuries.

    Otago Medical School haematologist and cell biologist Jim Faed, who is on the research team, said directing money to helping patients in their everyday lives was like pouring it into a "great bottomless pit".

    ACC already spent more than $100 million a year on spinal-cord injury support.

    "New Zealand is doing the first efficacy trial of the nose-cell treatment in the world and it will have an international impact," Dr Faed said.

    But since the trial price tag is $1 million, New Zealand Spinal Trust chief executive Andrew Hall said he had "mixed feelings" about it.

    "My concern is that diverting resources off to that [the trial] is taking it away from helping people manage their lives at the moment," he said.

    Although the trial is not expected to result in massive improvement for patients, many, like Mr Pennington, consider it a step toward reducing the massive personal and economic impact of spinal injuries.

    "Some people may be wary of the trial but I think a lot of people will be keen to give the trial a go, I know I would," Mr Pennington said.

    The Flagstaff man is not eligible because the trial criteria call for patients injured within the past seven years, and with a T5/T6, or mid-spinal injury.

    Mr Pennington, 66, broke his back in a car crash on the Desert Road in 1989. He was a back seat passenger.

    "The lap belt gave on impact then held which caused whiplash breaking my back, with the buckle perforating my bowel in two places and my shoulder was also dislocated."

    His uncle, also travelling in the back seat, was killed in the crash. Mr Pennington and four other family members had been travelling to Paraparaumu for his mother's 80th birthday.

    After months of treatment and rehabilitation, Mr Pennington was left an "incomplete paraplegic" meaning his spinal cord was not completely severed.

    "I have some movement in my legs so there are messages firing off from the brain – but I can't walk," he said.

    At the time of his injury Mr Pennington had a sheep and beef farm at Whakamaru and converted the property to dairy after the accident. His son now manages the farm and Mr Pennington enjoys weekly visits. "I have a quad bike I can use to spray weeds but I get a lot of pain so it's difficult."

    The pain is hard to medicate, with many drugs having little or no effect after years of use. "That's why this trial is so important. Even if it reduces pain or gives people some quality of life back through movement – it has to be better than nothing."

  2. #2
    Is anyone aware of the detailed specifics on the science behind these trials?

    I assume there are great variations from Dr Carlos Lima's very limited success with OEC's in Portugal.

    I just hope all the efforts of previous research and trials is being taken into account.

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=131003

  3. #3
    Another trial underway or soon to be underway. Hopefully it is real, will occurr, and people will benefit.

    keeping on

  4. #4
    Did i get it right? Candidates will have to pay one million dollars to participate this trial?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by herrlich View Post
    Did i get it right? Candidates will have to pay one million dollars to participate this trial?
    The money is coming from the NZ Spinal Trust. The way I read it, they're quoting an overall cost of $1M for the trial and they're saying that they already have a budget of $100M pa for care. $1M is a small price to pay in order to get us a step closer to getting rid of this pain and getting us out of these chairs!.

    Geoman
    "Wheelie Wanna Walk!"

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by herrlich View Post
    Did i get it right? Candidates will have to pay one million dollars to participate this trial?
    Quote Originally Posted by Geoman View Post
    The money is coming from the NZ Spinal Trust. The way I read it, they're quoting an overall cost of $1M for the trial and they're saying that they already have a budget of $100M pa for care. $1M is a small price to pay in order to get us a step closer to getting rid of this pain and getting us out of these chairs!.

    Geoman
    The money isn't coming from the NZ Spinal Trust. The trial is being funded & run by the NZ Spinal Cord Society through donations & grants. Candidates don't have to pay & it's $1M all up for the 6 getting surgery & post treatment programmes & the 6 non-surgery candidates doing the same exercises etc...

    ACC (our accident compensation insurance corporation which covers any injuries which are as a result from an accident be it workplace, road, sporting etc pays for doctors, hospitals, rehab etc to anyone injured in NZ) currently spends $100M on sci's a year funding care, equipment, physio, specialists, scans, compensation etc. They are not providing any funding towards this trial.
    The important thing in life is to have great aim, and the determination to attain it.

  7. #7
    klj, thanks for clarifying. So where does this guy from the NZ Spinal Trust get off telling us the money is better spent on care? I wonder if he's in a chair?

    Geoman
    "Wheelie Wanna Walk!"

  8. #8
    Clinicians and scientists need to talk more!!!!

  9. #9
    Geoman and Fly, I read the aritcle yesterday and the same thing crossed my mind. This parasite of funding says he can't tell if funds should go for therapies for improvement in our lives or managin our lives as is. I oppose any thinking of this type. We need to let him and those who think like him out of the arena. We must belive in the new day that is upon us. We must advocate for our selves. We must enter into new therapioes that upon on. We shall overcome, we shall.

    keeping on
    Last edited by keeping on; 01-23-2011 at 11:42 AM.

  10. #10

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