Saturday, November 13, 2004

Detroit Institute In Line To Offer New Spinal Cord Procedure

The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Detroit is hoping to become the first facility in the United States to offer a promising treatment for spinal cord injuries called olfactory ensheathing glia.

The procedure begins with cells extracted from the patient's nostrils. Scar tissue is then removed from the area of the injury, and in a five-hour surgery, the cells are injected into spinal cord at the injury site, where they regenerate.

"We are going to have something unique that no other center offers," said Dr. Steven Hinderer, of The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan. "We're not there yet, but we're certainly headed in a good direction for it."

The best candidates for the procedure are people under 35 years of age with a complete injury, meaning no movement or sensation below the injury level.

The institute is meeting with the Food and Drug Administration in hopes of bringing olfactory ensheathing glia to Detroit in the next two years.