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Paralysed man walks again after cell transplantation

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 22 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6396
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

A man who was paralysed in a knife attack in 2010 has been able to walk again using a frame, after doctors transplanted cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

The pioneering cell transplantation treatment involved taking olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from one of Darek Fidyka’s olfactory bulbs and growing them in culture. The cells are crucial to the continual replacement of nerve cells in the nose that give us a sense of smell.

The treatment was developed by scientists at University College London (UCL) and applied by surgeons at Wroclaw University Hospital, Poland. They have stressed that the technique will have to be repeated to confirm that it can stimulate spinal cord regeneration.

Fidyka, who is 38, was left with an 8 mm gap in his spinal cord after being stabbed. After his injury he had 13 months of rehabilitation with no …

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