Back in November 2014, I wrote about the interesting story of Darek Fidyka who had been left paralysed from the waist down following a knife attack in 2010. Mr Fidyka became part of a large research team of surgeons and scientist who helped him walk again through transplanting cells from his nose into his spinal cord.
Earlier this year it was fantastic to read another article about this remarkable gentleman and the progress he has made. He is now able to ride an adapted tricycle, something he never thought he would do. It is amazing how much hope there is out there now for people like Mr Fidyka, who says he can tell that sensation is now coming back and how he can feel each muscle and each press of the foot when he pedals the bike.
The ‘Wroclaw Walk Again Project’
Earlier this year the medical team involved in helping Mr Fidyka launched a worldwide search for more paralysed patients with an uncommon type of spinal cord injury to see if they could help them to walk again. They set up the ‘Wroclaw Walk Again Project’ which is being conducted in Poland. The treatment is free and open to patients across the world aged 16-65 who have no feeling or voluntary muscle function below the injury. The treatment costs around £250,000 per patient and is funded by a small British charity called Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation. The team were expecting to be inundated with applications. It is not clear yet what the outcome is but this will be very interesting to find out.
Surgeon and leader of the 'Wroclaw Walk Again' project, Dr Pawel Tabakow said:
“if we can bridge the gap between two spinal cord stumps, then there will be no doubt that our technique works and this will be historic, if we succeed we will have found a cure for paralysis”.
The approach the team take aims to reconnect the brain with the lower limbs along the neural superhighway that is the spinal cord, enabling both motor control commands to travel down the body and sensation to travel up.
This story really made me realise just how important the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation is. Without their charity work, funding research and developments into a cure for paralysis would be a impossible.
It is also vitally important to remember all the other spinal injury charities, including the Spinal Injuries Association and the Aspire Spinal Injuries Charity, all of whom are dedicated to helping thousands of spinal injured people in the UK rebuild their lives.
Here at Spencers Solicitors we have a dedicated team who deal with complex cases of all types, including spinal injuries, and to show our support to all these brilliant charities Amy Smitheringale, Manager of our Complex Injury team has signed up for the Aspire Channel Swim 2016> hoping to raise lots of money for what is a very worthy cause.
About the author
Laura Reaney is a litigator within Spencers Solicitors Complex Injury team. Laura has extensive experience in dealing with claimants that have complex and serious injuries, and over the years has worked on various cases including those involving back and spinal injuries.
Laura's last blog was Sniffing out a Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury.