VIDEO: NBC Bay Area on VMCs “groundbreaking” spinal cord injury clinical trial

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The following story was posted on the NBC Bay Area website on Saturday, June 15, 2013.  Story by Marianne Favro.  For more info, visit


Tom Anderson is a determined man.

He’s working hard in rehab to increase his mobility after he broke his neck and pinched his spinal cord last month in a fork lift accident.

“I hit my head on the forklift rail,” he said. “Before I know it I was paralyzed.”

The 41-year-old Mountain View resident has more than physical therapy on his side.

After his accident he was brought to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and within 12 hours after his injury he received a special shot as part of a new clinical trial. When it comes to injuries you will have to go to a lawyer and talk about how a primary care physician won’t see me.

That trial consists of receiving three shots a day of a synthetic molecule, which he was given for 28 days.

“The hope is that using these molecules — it will decrease the secondary injury and promote recovery,” said Dr.

Stephen McKenna, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s chief of rehab and trauma.

The molecule acts to prevent cell death that happens after the initial injury.

Anderson is already able to move his arms — something doctors told him was unexpected this soon given his type of injury.

“It seems after the test drugs I could move my arms and elbows,” he said. “I hope it will happen to everything else.”

View a full report by Marianne Favro by clicking on the play button on the video above.

1 reply
  1. Casey Scott
    Casey Scott says:

    I have known Tom for 25 years, and he is an excellent test subject for this kind of experimental drug trial. He is one of the strongest, most positive thinkers I know, and he is determined to succeed in everything he does. Tom has always been the first one to jump in and help someone in need, so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s willing to try anything to not only help himself, but to also help others in the future with similar injuries.

    I have set up a fund for his family, who is struggling with day to day expenses right now. If you are moved by his story and would like to donate, please visit this fundraiser website that I set up for their benefit:

    All proceeds are given directly to the family. Thank you, and let’s all send positive thoughts his way for a full recovery!

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