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Eminent neuroscientist Dr Wise Young delivered hope to practitioners and patients alike during his visit to New Zealand recently to raise awareness regarding his clinical trials treating spinal cord injury.

Young is the founding director of the W M Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience and a professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. In the US, Dr Young is also well known as the doctor who worked with the late actor Christopher Reeve (Superman) who became quadriplegic in 1995.

Since 2007, Dr Young has been leading a 25 centre trial in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan using umbilical cord blood and lithium to regenerate the spinal cord.

Young says his research will bring hope to sufferers of spinal cord injuries whom to date, medicine has not been able to treat in any meaningful way. “It’s achievable not just within our lifetime, but within a few years,” said Young. “I believe we can fix a person enough so that someone who doesn’t know them wouldn’t know that that person has a spinal cord injury. To me that’s a cure!”

This fascinating work has the potential to give tens of thousands of people worldwide a full life, and is just one of the leaps forward science is making in the field of umbilical cord stem cell research.