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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Jul 2001

    Christopher Reeve: Israel is at center of world research on paralysis

    Christopher Reeve: Israel is at center of world research on paralysis

    By ISRAEL21c staff July 27, 2003


    Christopher Reeve: Israeli researchers are some of the best in the world.

    Israel joins international stem cell forum

    Stem cells become working human kidneys in mice.

    Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation

    Weizmann Institute of Science

    Proneuron Biotechnologies

    Calling Israel the "world center" for research on paralysis treatment, Christopher Reeve set off for his first visit to the country this week.

    Over the course of his visit, Reeve will learn about Israeli advancements in the field of stem cell research related to paralysis and spinal cord injuries.

    The theater and film actor who portrayed 'Superman', suffered a horseback-riding accident in 1995 during an equestrian event which left him paralyzed from the neck down.

    "I am looking forward to visiting Israel to learn more about their cutting edge paralysis research as well as their approaches to addressing the quality of life of those living with paralysis," said Reeve. "Israel is the center of some of the world's leading research related to paralysis. There are many new therapies in the pipeline as well as care strategies being employed that may also benefit millions of people around the world living with paralysis. This includes therapies derived from stem cell research."

    Reeve is the chairman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF). According to his spokesperson Juda S. Engelmayer, the four-day trip is a scientific, fact-finding mission to learn about Israel's research on treatments
    for spinal injuries and to visit with people living with disabilities in the region. Reeve plans to meet with Israeli doctors and researchers working on remedies for paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries and other central nervous system disorders.

    Reeve is a strong supporter of stem cell research, which some experts believe may unlock a way of reversing the often-debilitating effects of spinal injuries. He believes a cure for paralysis is close at hand.

    "Help is on the way, it really is," Reeve said recently. "It's going to transform everything and mean a great deal to people with brain injuries and spinal cord injuries as well," he said.

    Accordin to Engelmayer, Reeve specifically requested to meet with neuroimmunologist Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot.

    "I think that Israel is one of the countries that is leading the way in medical research, in particular with diseases and conditions that affect the central nervous system. Israeli researchers are some of the best in the world," Reeve told The Jerusalem Post. "She [Schwartz] and some of her colleagues are doing
    particularly well in treating patients immediately after spinal cord injuries in what is called the acute phase. If a person can be treated right away, within the first 10 days after the injury, it will have dramatic effect in what their life will be."

    Schwartz described her team's approach of therapy as "different than any other group in the world."

    The work is being carried out by an Israeli company called Proneuron Biotechnologies, Inc. The therapy, recently completed phase 1 FDA approved clinical studies, demonstrated preliminary promising results with the first
    patients. With these results, the company is expecting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve plans for Phase II testing of the therapy to begin this summer in the US.

    Proneuron's treatment, involves isolation of macrophages from the patient's blood, processing in the laboratory and then injection of the cells into the spinal cord in the vicinity of the area of damage. The treatment, which must be
    provided within 14 days of spinal cord injury, requires a surgical procedure to open the spine for the injection of the macrophage cells into the spinal cord.

    "The technology is based on the individual's own potential within his immune system. It's a revolutionary approach to using the immune system," Dr. David Snyder, Vice-President of Clinical Development at Proneuron, told ISRAEL21c. "We licensed the technology from Weizmann and have turned the idea into an
    application. And we're in the process of bringing it to the clinic."

    The Phase I trials included patients from around the world who were flown to Israel for treatment and follow up - including patients from Holland, Mexico, Poland, and the U.S.A.

    "It tells you something. Doctors from all over the world sent their patients to Israel for a month - in the middle of this conflict - and that the families of the patients also came. From a patient perspective - there are no clinical alternatives," said Snyder.

    During his visit Reeve is also planning to meet Israelis who have suffered similar injuries to him, including Ethiopian immigrant Elad Wass. Wass was a victim of a suicide bombing in Netanya in May. The shrapnel that entered
    Wassa's abdomen left him paralyzed from the waist down. Wassa expressed a wish to meet the actor in a letter, saying that Reeve provided him with "hope and inspiration."

    "Israel is a very small country yet there are many people suffering with disabilities. It is a particularly troubled area of the world bombings and shootings have resulted in many injuries and disabilities," said Reeve.

    Accompanied by nurses, aides, and a team to meet his day-to-day needs, Reeve will travel on a regular commercial flight. His itinerary includes stops at research centers, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and centers for
    children with diseases and disabilities. He will meet with government leaders and will also tour the sights, including Yad Vashem and the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the organizers of the trip, the Old City tour is specially designed for disabled people.

    "Long ago not very much could be done to improve the lives of injured. There were told to go home and live life with no hope for improvement," Reeve said. "In my own case, I was told I would never recover any movement below my
    shoulders; I have been exercising every day and recovered much more movement than was ever thought possible."

    The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, of which Reeve is chairman, has distributed $45 million in research grants to neuroscientists throughout the world. In effect, he is kept informed of the progress that scientists are
    making and is able to confirm that "there is a lot of very promising research going on all over the world."

    "When I was injured in 1995, scientists were nowhere near being ready to try therapies on human beings and now in 2003 there are human trials under way and other planned for the near future. I am fortunate to be informed about progress being made and I want to tell others who are disabled about such research," Reeve told The Jerusalem Post.

    "There is progress being made in research, there is hope. Scientists are making tremendous progress, not just in spinal cord cases but with all diseases and disorders. Science is advancing rapidly; there are now new therapies, exercises, and equipment. Nothing is impossible. It is important for all of us living with disabilities to try our very best to challenge ourselves to do more. No one should accept it when someone says this is the way you will be forever. The possibilities are limitless."


    [This message was edited by seneca on 07-27-03 at 11:42 PM.]

  2. #2
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    West Monroe, LA, USA

    Hats off to you!! I am amazed at your research and posting capabilities. Thank you.

  3. #3
    Maybe, just maybe, Bush may have inadvertantly helped us. By eliminating the Saddam factor, and allowing the peace process to proceed, he may have set Isreal up to be a world leader in this area. I still have many problems with Bush's policies, but this could be a great one. Even if he didn't mean to do it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA

    Thanks Jeremy,

    Here is CR recent(?) pic
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  5. #5
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA

    Reeve to Study Israel Spinal Treatment (another picture of CR-which one is up today)

    Reeve to Study Israel Spinal Treatment
    33 minutes ago

    By The Associated Press

    JERUSALEM - Former "Superman" star Christopher Reeve (news) will visit Israel this week to study the country's treatment of spinal injuries and further his campaign for stem cell research.

    AP Photo

    Israel is a major center for stem cell study, which is championed by Reeve as offering hope for people with spinal cord injuries.

    Reeve, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a 1995 horse-riding accident, is due to arrive in Israel on Monday, Israeli officials and the actor's charity organization said.

    During the five-day trip he will visit Israeli research institutions, tour facilities for the disabled and meet Israelis paralyzed in terrorist attacks. He also is expected to meet Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites) and visit Jerusalem's Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site.

    Many scientists believe stem cells from human embryos could be used to treat a vast array of conditions, from spinal injury to diabetes and Parkinson's disease (news - web sites).

    U.S. federal law strictly limits stem cell research and Reeve has criticized the government's stance. In April, he said social and religious conservatives "have had undue influence on the critical debate."


    On the Net:

    Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:
    Attached Files Attached Files

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Thanks for the compliment, I'm just like everyone else here searching for answers hoping that someday one of us here will post the answer we're looking for. I'm getting tired, lots of promise, but no solutions, oh well tomorrow's another day I guess. I'll still be searching , and hoping ,and posting like everyone else.


  7. #7
    CRPF Statement on Christopher Reeve's Trip to Israel

    July 25, 2003

    Although CRPF is delighted that Mr. Reeve is able to travel internationally, it should be emphasized that he is making this trip as a private individual and not in his capacity as Chairman of the CRPF Board of Directors. The Foundation did not provide any funding whatsoever for the trip.

    Christopher Reeve, Chairman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF), will visit Israel from July 28 through August 1 to learn firsthand about some of the spinal cord research being done in that country and to visit with people there who are living with disabilities.

    This trip is being hosted by the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles and sponsored by private donations.

    We realize that many people around the world are interested in Mr. Reeve's health and activities, therefore, we will post what information we have regarding his trip to Israel on our website. Although CRPF is delighted that Mr. Reeve is able to travel internationally, it should be emphasized that he is making this trip as a private individual and not in his capacity as Chairman of the CRPF Board of Directors. The Foundation did not provide any funding whatsoever for the trip.

    It also should be stated that Mr. Reeve is not visiting Israel to receive any medical treatment.
    CRPF Statement on CR Trip to Israel

    "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
    It's already tomorrow in Australia!"----- Charles Schultz

  8. #8
    Senior Member defiler's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    So, he is getting "donations" to take a leisure trip. Lol. He's great for our cause but I despise his way of thinking. Why not tour the US to visit other people with disabilities? A trip like that for him wil be very expensive being that he is taking a swarm of people including aides, nurses etc. If it were me, I'd be putting these donations to better use. Even it doesn't amount to enough to assist toward a cure, it could be donated to a needy charity. I hate to say it but, I personally think poor starving children in America have it worse off than most if not all of us. Just a thought.

    "Failure is impossible"

  9. #9
    Senior Member mk99's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    toronto, canada
    How does touring the US to visit other people with disabilities help us get out of these wheelchairs? Israel is a leader in stem cell work... why shouldn't he be there checking it out?

    In my opinion, CR has balanced the care/cure issue very well but is clearly of the opinion that cure is the ultimate care. I couldn't agree more.

    Defiler what is it about his "way of thinking" that bothers you? Should he be using CRPF funds for this trip? Or should he not be free to use his own money to travel to wherever he likes? I don't get it.

  10. #10
    defiler, usually people who invite Christopher pay for the expenses. Wise.

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