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Health: Spinal Cord Injuries

Volume 691: debated on Thursday 26 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why National Health Service patients suffering with spinal cord injuries are required to travel to a clinic in Portugal for treatment; what comparable therapies using adult stem cells are available in the United Kingdom; and how many patients have been successfully treated for spinal cord injuries in treatments using embryonic stem cells. [HL3275]

The National Health Service has sent no patients with spinal cord injuries to Portugal for treatment. However, we are aware that some patients have undergone treatment privately in Portugal, and have claimed some improvements in sensory and voluntary motor recovery.

Currently no clinics in the United Kingdom offer therapies to treat spinal cord injuries using either adult or embryonic stem cells.

Treatment of patients with spinal cord injuries, using either embryonic or adult stem cells, is still in an experimental stage. More research will be required before clinical trials can be undertaken to assess the long-term safety and efficacy of such interventions.