Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based regenerative medicine company Bioquark, Inc. – which specializes in the development of novel biologics for complex regeneration and disease reversion – is partnering with Noida, India-based Revita Life Sciences – which is a pioneer in therapeutic applications of adult stem cell therapy that makes use of the patient’s own cells – to brainstorm on alternative treatments and breakthroughs that could possibly help spinal cord injury patients.
According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, the amount of direct medical costs, disability support, and the loss of earning capacity of patients with spinal cord injuries in the United States is a staggering $20 billion annually.
Revita Life Sciences managing director Dr. HImanshu Bansal says the possibility of combining both cellular and biologic approaches to combating this illness represents “the next step evolutionary step in achieving complete regeneration and return of full functionality in this devastating disease”.
This recent development in the field of medical breakthroughs for spinal cord patients is by no means the first of their kind. By April 2014, four spinal cord injury patients received the gift of electrical stimulator units implanted on them over the lower part of the spinal cord to activate lumbar circuitry. Such electrical stimulator units allow the patients to make use of their limbs when the apparatuses are turned on, so that the patients have the ability to “walk”, that is, move their legs on command.
Aside from this improvement, the patients were reported to have gained autonomic recovery – functions such as bowel, bladder, sexual, and temperature control are more operational than before the use of electronic stimulator units. It was scheduled by around September 2015 that around 36 patients would have been given use of such devices.
Another medical breakthrough in the works for spinal cord injury therapy is that of the chondroitinase and gene therapy being researched on by King’s College London’s Dr. Elizabeth Bradbury, University of Cambridge’s Dr. Elizabeth Muir, Royal Holloway, University of London’s Dr. Rafael Yañez-Muñoz, and Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience’s Professor Joost Verhagen. This therapy involves a bacterial enzyme called chondroitinase, which helps degrade the scar caused by the spinal cord injury and in so doing allows recovery via the growth of the axon away from the lesion area.