KWANGJU, South Korea, November 30, 2004 ( – A 37-year-old South Korean woman, paralysed 20 years ago as a result of a spinal injury, is walking again. Hers is the first recorded recovery of a spinal injury from the use of stem cells – her doctors used umbilical cord-blood stem cells.

The AFP reported that Hwang Mi-Soon shed tears as she took her first steps before a group of reporters Thursday, using the help of a walker. “This is already a miracle for me,” Hwang said. “I never dreamed of getting to my feet again.” She stood up out of her wheelchair and shuffled a few paces back and forth.  “We have glimpsed at a silver lining over the horizon,” Chosun University medical school professor and researcher Song Chang-Hoon said. The new treatment has yet to be confirmed and duplicated, but may mark a new era in spinal cord injury treatment, he said. “We were all surprised at the fast improvements in the patient.”  The AFP also reported that there is rarely any host immune rejection of umbilical cord-derived stem cells, unlike embryonic cells, which may actually form into tumors after being injected.

“It is just one case and we need more experiments, more data,” another researcher, Oh Il-Hoon, said. “I believe experts in other countries have been conducting similar experiments and accumulating data before making the results public.”  See last week’s similar report:  Non Embryonic Stem Cell Treatment Allows Paralysed Brazilian To Walk, Talk Again   tv


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