Injection of Stem Cells Give Paralyzed Man Movement | Freethink Superhuman


– [Lucas] I was on a back road. That’s where the bad
part of the day began. So, I see a deer and
swerve to go around him and soon as that truck
started going sideways, it threw me out the window. The doctor told me there
was a 1% chance of recovery. It’s a lost cause. – We’ve been through about
4,000 years of history where the answer was the same. “I don’t know if you’re gonna walk again. “I don’t know if you’re
gonna be functional again.” Before he had the procedure, he could not have held
a baseball in his hand. When I first injected these
stem cells into Lucas, I have absolutely no
idea what’s gonna happen. This is one of the first
times it’s in a human being. It’s always a dream to do one thing in a person’s career that
changes the paradigm. It turns out it actually worked. When I was a little kid, I
wanted to be truck driver. And then my mentor, here when
I came to the United States, suggested I should be neurosurgeon. But ever since I picked neurosurgery, I’ve never looked back. To go and tell a person like Lucas, who was in the prime of their life that, “You’re never gonna walk again,” that’s something I’ll never get used to. – He was in a coma for three days. To be trapped inside of a
body that’s not responding to what he wants it to do, it was more than I could take. – Be at zero function. So, he couldn’t move anything, he couldn’t sense anything, his bladder and bowel wouldn’t work. – [Karen] He could move
shoulders was all we could see. He couldn’t do anything else. He was just laying there. – It’s pretty bad. – [Dr. Kurpad] So, Lucas
has a spinal cord injury in the cervical spine so
this is a bruise that he has. The portion of the spinal
cord that’s bruised is not really dead but actually dormant. – They said that he qualified for a stem cell clinical trial. It’s a experimental surgery. – With regard to using
embryonic stem cells for treatment in general,
I can see both sides of the social argument. But here I’m a scientist. You sort of take an oath to
do the best for your patients. Embryonic stem cells are
derived from human embryos. These cells were genetically modified so that they could only become
cells of the nervous system. When you put these stem cells
into the injured spinal cord, they find the ailing nerve cells and they insulate them again so that they can function normally. This is an extremely rare operation and Lucas was the third
individual in the world that received the 10 million
cells in his spinal cord. – [Dave] The thing that scared us the most was to perform this surgery,
they had to stop his breathing for two minutes. – The spinal cord never
sits at the same spot. You don’t want the needle
to go back and forth. Sometimes what we do is we
give the patient 100% oxygen so they don’t need to breath
for those three minutes. It’s something that I was doing
that I couldn’t take back. That would make anyone nervous. I can tell you this,
there’s not a single patient that I’ve met who was a new quadriplegic that is not willing to
try absolutely anything to get back to feeling human again. We’re in this line of work to
make lives better for people. It turns out it actually worked. – He started getting some fingers back. Every night we went there, he
would show us something new. And this is just the beginning. – Good one. You put something into
that one, that was good. – I’ve went from not being able to eat to cooking any meal that I want myself, not being able to dress myself, almost completely dress myself, from not doing what I
want, to doing what I want, which is huge. – I’m living with him. I’m watching a miracle. Every week there’s a little bit more. We haven’t stopped improving yet. – This is just a stepping stone. There’s other places to go from here. But, this is a major milestone. – You always want to see
something that’s experimental become standard of care. It would be great to see
a paralyzed person walk and discuss when they may
be able to return to work like nothing ever happened. This is the significance
of what these findings are. This is a paradigm shift. I think that this is clearly
the single biggest advancement for spinal cord injury
treatment in the last 30 years, for that matter, the
last two millions years.

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