Somewhere, Christopher Reeve, who raised so much money for spinal cord research, is smiling:
A man who was completely paralysed from the waist down can walk again after a British-funded surgical breakthrough which offers hope to millions of people who are disabled by spinal cord injuries.
Polish surgeons used nerve-supporting cells from the nose of Darek Fidyka, a Bulgarian man who was injured four years ago, to provide pathways along which the broken tissue was able to grow.
The 38-year-old, who is believed to be the first person in the world to recover from complete severing of the spinal nerves, can now walk with a frame and has been able to resume an independent life, even to the extent of driving a car, while sensation has returned to his lower limbs.
Professor Geoffrey Raisman, whose team at University College London’s institute of neurology discovered the technique, said: “We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”