TEHRAN, Feb. 5 (Mehr News Agency) -- On Sunday, the Islamic Republic officially announced that Iranian scientists have developed a new technique for treating patients with spinal cord injuries.
In this method of Schwann cell transplantation, the Schwann cells are taken from the back of the patient's leg (below the knee) and grown in the lab. They are then injected into the site of the injury.
Researchers from the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Center of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences have scientifically proven the efficacy of the new method through 30 operations on humans.
"The degree of recovery is 85 percent in patients with partial paralysis, and 15 percent in patients with full paralysis," the director of the spinal cord injury research group, Hushang Saberi, said at the ceremony held to announce the Iranian scientists' achievement.
Such transplantations are being practiced in Ukraine, China, which uses fetal and adult stem cells, and Russia, which uses dipolar nerve cells, but these techniques are risky, he added.
Thirty patients were chosen to undergo the surgery, 40 percent of whom experienced at least partial recovery as far as sensation and physical movement, with 35 percent showing no change, and 25 percent still in the initial post-surgical stage, he explained.
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad also spoke at the ceremony, saying that his administration supports the country's research projects 100 percent.
Ahmadinejad called on Health Minister Kamran Baqeri Lankarani to make the scientific achievements swiftly and widely available to the public.
The government will pay, either directly or through insurance, for the treatment of any patient with spinal cord injuries who can not afford it, he stated.
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