Learning you have a spinal cord injury can elicit a particular sense of dread, evoking thoughts of potentially irretrievable loss of function, feeling, and independence. In recent years, however, researchers at UTHealth have begun to explore the tantalizing possibility that patients with a spinal cord injury can regain what they lost.
“Our initial studies show that stem cells may have the potential to restore function after traumatic spinal cord injury,” says Dong Kim, MD. Stem cells can develop into any type of cell in the body, making them potentially a key to healing damaged organs and tissue.
Kim leads a four-person research team that, with support from The Staman Ogilvie Fund, suggests transferring stem cells to spinal cord injury sites may help with healing. The team has reached several preclinical milestones in this work.
In addition to Kim, the UTHealth Neurosciences team includes Qi Lin Cao, MD; Ying Liu, MD, PhD; and Jiaqian Wu, PhD. Each member brings expertise in a different facet of spinal cord injury to create a collaborative effort.
“We have a talented group of researchers who work well together,” says Kim. “I am optimistic about where we are headed.”