Experimental medical treatments are a gamble that many patients with life-threatening and debilitating conditions hang their hopes and futures on. While these don’t always work out, the results are sometimes miraculous breakthroughs in medical science. Kristopher Boesen just got a second chance at life after his decision to undergo an experimental treatment to reverse his paralysis.
Boesen was lucky to be alive after his vehicle struck a lamp post and tree. The severe car crash didn’t claim his life, but it did leave him paralyzed from the neck down. Like many others, Boesen’s life was forever changed in that split second.
He would get the chance to change his life once again and the opportunity to make medical history. He was offered an experimental stem cell treatment designed to replace the cells in his damaged nerve tissues. If it worked, it would be a medical breakthrough.
With no guarantee of success, Boesen decided to take the treatments. He signed the paperwork, gave his verbal consent, and completed all the postoperative scans and tests. He was ready to go.
The treatment was a group effort conducted by Keck Medicine of USC, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, and lead by doctor Charles Liu of the USC Neurorestoration Center.
Boesen’s medical team had made no promises about the results. According to Dr. Lui, most paralyzed patients have spine-stabilizing surgeries, but these restore little, if any, sensory and motor function. The stem cell experimental treatment could, however, have a very different outcome if it worked.
Boesen had noticeable improvements just three weeks after the 10 million AST-OPC1 stem cells were injected into his spine. By the three month mark, Boesen was using his arms and hands to move his wheelchair and answer a phone independently. As of 90 days after the specialized treatment, Boesen had gained enough arm and hand mobility to operate a computer and brush his teeth.
It was a medical first, and it restored something for Boesen that many patients lose in facing a potential life sentence of reliance upon others for all their basic needs: hope. For a second time now, Boesen’s life was changed, and his dream now is to walk one day.
Doctors continue to hope that other patients can make gains as Boesen has made, and to make goals like walking after quadriplegia a reality not just hope for the future.
Aren’t the miracles of modern medicine and science amazing? Do you have a message for the professionals working diligently to save and change lives or for those waiting on their own medical miracle? Leave us a comment with your thoughts, and don’t forget to pass this story along to inspire others.