Spinal Cord Injury
Continued from Part 1

Tracy McCray:
Does this type of therapy continue indefinitely for the patient?

Megan Gill:
We quickly realized that you can’t have epidural electrical stimulation without physical therapy. We feel they’re both integral into this type of recovery, so we know it’s important.

Tom Shives, M.D.
You can put the implant in but that it won’t do any good if you don’t have the therapy?

Megan Gill:
That’s our theory. That has yet to be proven as well, but we know a physical therapy itself wasn’t the answer. So, we had the implant and we added the therapy and the simulation together and we got these miraculous results. What goes on from here is a little tricky, because number one, like I said, this is not the standard of care for someone who has a completely severe spinal cord injury.

So, to be able to send this individual out to the clinic now without this standard of care would be tricky because our clinicians don’t know how to manage the stimulator in conjunction with the therapy, which we feel is valuable. So, we’re at the point with this trial where we’re really trying to integrate the home exercise program by identifying the activities that have been really proven safe and possible for the individuals to do on their own at home with some minimal assistive devices.

Then let them do that stuff at home on their own. It’s our job to figure out who is this appropriate for, when is it appropriate, if it is appropriate and how do we implement it into a standard of care.

Tom Shives, M.D.
So how many patients have had the stimulator now and are presently going through the therapy? What are the things that they’re able to do that they couldn’t do before?

Kristin Zhao, Ph.D.:
We’re on our second subject right now, our patient, so we’ve enrolled two. We have some research funding to hopefully continue into a new protocol that will be very similar but allow us to enroll additional subjects. Right now, the first subject can stand alone for a long period of time. He’s able to stand and was wheelchair-bound before.

He’s able to walk or independently step on a treadmill and over ground with a walker. So, he has some assistance obviously to help him bear weight on his legs, but he’s able to, as Megan described, volitionally move his legs when he wants on command. So that’s really the exciting part as to where we can go from here.

Tracy McCray:
Does it improve bladder and bowel function for him?

Kristin Zhao, Ph.D.:
We’ve had some anecdotal improvements, although we didn’t measure those things directly. At this point for our next studies we’re going to do more data collections which we hope will help inform whether there’s actual return of bowel and bladder. But they do report kind of a shorter bowel time, so that’s a good thing, we just don’t have evidence yet.

Tracy McCray:
You’re working with a second patient. Is it very similar to what the first patient was?

Megan Gill:
Overall on the progress, it is very similar.

Tom Shives, M.D.
How do we go from one or two individuals to millions? Because we know there are somewhere between five and six million people out there who have spinal cord injuries. Maybe not complete, but partial. Where do we go from here and how can we get this technology to more people?

Kristin Zhao, Ph.D.:
I think Megan alluded to this earlier and we’ve probably both alluded to one thing we need is obviously to gain an additional research support money to do this work and to keep this team moving forward. I think one of the other critical questions is: Which patients will respond to this therapy? Which ones will not? Can we come up with a way of saying, out of the millions of patients, these people will respond in these ways so that we don’t try to deliver a therapy that’s not going to be successful.

Tracy McCray:
Finally, do you believe that someday paralysis won’t be permanent for all patients?

Megan Gill:
We’re making a turn. Because we used to just talk about how we compensate for the deficits that are existing for this population and now we’re talking about how we recover. How do we make neuroplasticity occur in the central nervous system? We’re making the change and the progress of how we’re managing and dealing with spinal cord injuries but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Tom Shives, M.D.
Well you’ve made so much progress. It’s an exciting technology and you’ve both done such great work and we wish you the very best of luck.

Keywords: Spinal Cord Injury, paralysis injuries, spinal cord stimulation, spinal cord injury law firm, spinal cord injury lawyer

Continued from Part 1

Do you have a Spinal Injury case?
Call (303) 861-1000
Or Contact an Attorney using the form below.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The content above if from the attached video below.

You Can Also Watch This Video On YouTube – Please Subscribe to this Channel

Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent changes
in the levels of strength and sensation below the site of the injury.

read more…