Stem Cell Research – a promise we must keep

“I want to be an advocate for stem cell therapies and other types of spinal cord injury treatment that can make a difference in someone’s life.”                                                  SCVMC patient Katie Sharify is one of only five people to receive stem cell treatments to treat her spinal cord injury. 

The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) Rehabilitation Center, in partnership with Stanford Hospital, launched a groundbreaking study in 2011 to establish the promise of embryonic stem cells in treating spinal cord injuries. However, the momentum of this historic collaboration is threatened and your help is needed to continue this valuable research.

In November 2011, Geron announced that it would close the Spinal Cord Injury Clinical Trial to new enrollment. Dr. Steven McKenna, principal investigator for the research at SCVMC, said, “We’re still in the very early history of what amounts to creating an entirely new field. With effective stem cell therapies we have an opportunity to actually reverse the disease process itself.” However, Geron’s decision threatens to derail our progress toward an important milestone in curing spinal paralysis.

The VMC Foundation and the SCVMC Rehabilitation Center have created a special fund to support the continuation of these highly promising trials – to reach the first milestone in achieving a cure for spinal cord paralysis. The Treatment Innovation Fund allows those who understand the importance of such a cure to make a contribution.

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About the SCVMC Rehabilitation Center

The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Rehabilitation Center is a world leader in rehabilitation services for people suffering from spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and many other injuries. The Center also serves as the teaching hospital for Stanford Hospital rehabilitation students, and as the primary rehabilitation facility for Stanford Hospital patients.

Because of their neuro-impairment, the lives of the Rehab Center’s patients are changed in the most fundamental ways, including physical functioning, communicating and even mental functioning. For the past 40 years, it has been the mission of the doctors, nurses and therapists at SCVMC Rehab Center to improve patients’ quality of life, increase their independence, and reintegrate them into their communities. The Center, located at SCVMC in San Jose, is operated by Santa Clara County and serves anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. The Rehab Center is considered one of the most comprehensive and trusted rehabilitation facilities in the western US, and draws patients from across the state and beyond. High-visibility patients are often referred to SCVMC’s Rehab Center by physicians who could send their patients to any facility in the world.

About Katie Sharify

Katie Sharify, a USC student from Pleasanton, was injury last year in a car accident. The attorney for personal injury issues can deal with such instances if there is need for help with the legalities.  She become one of the first people in the world to receive stem cell treatment for spinal cord injury at SCVMC.  Learn about her amazing story with this short video from filmmaker David Alvarado.

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