The news of a possible therapy breakthrough that could in the future help some people with spinal cord injury is being described as an "exciting development" by Paralyzed Veterans of America.
"I think everyone who has read or seen the stories are very excited by what seems like a novel therapy to help some people with spinal cord injury be more ambulatory, at least in the laboratory setting. However, this therapy is not a cure for paralysis," said Homer S. Townsend, Jr., national executive director of Paralyzed Veterans.
"Being able to cure paralysis is a complicated puzzle that we are years away from fully solving. However, the good news is that we live in very exciting times where there are several very promising research initiatives taking place as we speak, notably at Yale and the University of Pittsburgh. These hold out the promise of finding cures for paralysis in our lifetimes."
The news reports center on Rob Summers who was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 2006. Thanks to electrical stimulation of his spinal cord, Summers can now stand and has some limited movement.
However, the improvements are limited to when the stimulator is turned on in a therapy session.
Summer continues to use a wheelchair most of the time.
His case is the subject of a paper in The Lancet. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
Paralyzed Veterans' Research and Education foundations and its chapters have invested more than $100 million to support initiatives to find new treatments, therapies and a cure for paralysis. This investment includes the ground breaking Center for Neuroscience and Regeneration Research at Yale and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh.
Sixty-four years ago Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a band of spinal cord injured service members who returned home from World War II to a grateful nation but also to a world with few solutions to the challenges they faced. These veterans from the "Greatest Generation" made a decision not just to live, but to live with dignity as contributors to society.
They created an organization dedicated to veterans service, medical research and civil rights for people with disabilities.
And for more than six decades, Paralyzed Veterans of America and its 34 chapters have been working to create an America where all veterans and people with disabilities, and their families, have everything they need to thrive. (www.pva.org).