Stem cell technology to cure spinal cordv injuries introduced in KSA

Updated 06 March 2014

Stem cell technology to cure spinal cordv injuries introduced in KSA

The Sultan bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City (SAHC) announced Tuesday its intention to take stem cell transplantation to new heights by using the method to cure spinal cord injuries.
The announcement was made by Prince Khaled bin Sultan, chairman of the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation (SAAF), during the international spinal cord injury conference 2014, which kicked off at the SAHC headquarters on Tuesday.
The theme of the conference, which ends on Thursday, is “Toward a Better Quality of Life.” The conference, first introduced in Australia and New Zealand, is being held for the first time in the Middle East.
The technology, in collaboration with the US-based University of Miami, will revolutionize the scope of paralysis surgery in the Kingdom, making it a leader in the field.
An accord on collaboration between the SAHC and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis (MPCP), the first center in the US to receive approval from the supervisory board of the Food and Drug Administration for stem cell therapy, was also signed.
Prince Khaled said that the transfer of this technology comes amid efforts to help families cope with the life-changing effects of spinal cord injuries.
Prince Khaled said many people between the ages of 16 and 22 suffer such debilitating injuries.
“The MPCP works on several research and rehabilitation programs in the field of spinal cord and traumatic brain injury,” he said. “The transfer of this technology to the SAHC will make Saudi Arabia one of the first countries in the region to benefit from the revolutionary treatment of spinal cord injury through stem cell research.”
SAHC Executive President Abdullah Zarah said the conference would address the latest findings of modern science in the field of spinal cord injury and stem cell transplantation.
Around 1,500 Saudis are afflicted with spinal cord injuries every year due to accidents.
Rizman Hamid, a senior neurology lecturer at University College London, told Arab News that being afflicted with this type of injury is a lifelong condition.
“Such critical ailments require follow-up, with radiological investigation to optimize bladder function. Patients should undergo regular investigation as a means of detecting potential problems in the bladder, which can lead to kidney damage,” he said.
He added that another major problem resulting from spinal cord injuries, especially among women, is urinary incontinence, which has severe and adverse effects on patients.
“This condition can be cured through a procedure known as the ‘transobtruator tape.’ This is a minimally invasive procedure that has good long-term results,” he said.
Firas Sirhan, director of the Center of Excellence for Telehealth and Assisted Living (CETAL) at Buckinghamshire New University in Middlesex, England, said that the use of technology and health care practice is becoming more visible in the treatment and management of spinal cord injuries.
“Telehealth represents an entirely new way of managing injury that does not easily fit within existing health care frameworks,” he said. “The use of the telehealth model has contributed to empowering patients to become more involved in the self-management of their condition. Telehealth could be an effective tool that contributes to allowing health care professionals, as well as patients, to recognize and identify any changes in medical conditions.
He added that the center can assist in developing packages that combine tested clinical service models with assessed technology to present workable telehealth services based on specific needs.


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