For 20 years, Wang Mi-sun was paralized after an accident, but no more. With tears in her eyes, she showed how she can take a few tantative steps. For her, a miracle. For doctors, proof of how stem cells can heal. Doctors say her muscles responded within weeks after stem cells from ... cord were injected directly into her spine.
'It's too early to know all that we can do.' says her doctor. 'This is just one test.'
South Korea is not the only place offering hope for those with spinal cord injuries. At this hospital on the outskirts of Beijing, dozens of Americans are coming for a similar kind of experimental surgery. It is not availabel in the United States. One of those at this special ward is 19-year-old Derik Rangere, paralized from the waist down in a snowboarding accident. American doctors said his recovery had gone as far as possible. But, 5 days after an operation here, parts of his legs once dead are coming alive again.
"I can feel this now."
"So, if I touch it or scratch it, you actually can feel that?"
"And, what about before the surgery?"
"Before the surgery, there was nothing."
Doctor Wong Han-yoon injects cell from ... into the spine. Even he is not sure exactly why it works. While some doctors in the US are openly skeptical about the procedure, Derik's grateful mother, a nurse practitioner is now a believer.
"We should be doing in supporting Doctor Wong because he discovered something that offers hope."
These operations can be done in Asia because rules are not as strict, nor as controversial as in the US. There are no lengthy clinical trials required before humans become guinea pigs. But, doctors in South Korea think they are far ahead of the US in understanding how cells can be regenerated. Because their research is not just about laboratory experiments, it's also about changing lives, one patient at a time.
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