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Paralyzed German Man First to Test UC Irvine's Stem Cell Treatment

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A 23-year-old German man who was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident will become the first to test a stem cell treatment developed in UC Irvine.Developed by husband-and-wife researchers Brian Cummings and Aileen Anderson, the couple says the treatment has reversed paralysis in the limbs of laboratory mice, The Orange County Register reports.

"This terrible injury crossed out almost all my life plans, and has led me to an unexpected path," the German patient said, in a statement. "Participating in this clinical trial not only gives me a sense of hope, but it also helps move this important research forward."

These trials are groundbreaking: the treatment is one of the first human trials involving neural stem cells and it’s the first to use neural cells derived from aborted fetuses, which were donated by the parents. There will be twelve other patients in the study with varying disabilities.

This first trial will test to make sure the treatment is safe and it could even show early signs that this is an effective treatment for chronic spinal chord injuries that are less than a year old.

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Although the technology was developed at UC Irvine, the trial is taking place at Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland.