nsif featured in Panorama World Exclusive
“In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”
So read a brochure at an Andy Warhol exhibition in 1968. Last week the nsif team basked in the truth of this prescient wisdom, appearing for an approximately three-second cameo on the Panorama World Exclusive “To Walk Again”. But the effects of the programme must not fade in 15 minutes.
At nsif, we were all moved by last week’s programme, after having awaited it with much anticipation. Many things stood out, but especially the determination of Professor Geoffrey Raisman to see his long-held belief in the possibility of nerve fibre regeneration in the central nervous system, and thus of spinal cord repair, validated.
The reaction from the press and public to this stunning news has been wonderful. But this is just the start. As Professor Raisman says, “A door has been opened.” The principle he has believed in for decades has been established by the incredible fusion of passion and patience that allows great things to be created. Scientists have recorded the reconnection of severed long spinal nerve fibres, and this is a marvelous breakthrough.
Darek’s recovery has let light into the previously dark field of spinal cord repair. The possibilities this suggests cannot be ignored. The success of the procedure provides a chance – as with cancer, through the last two centuries, or heart transplant since 1967 – to make life-changing medical progress. Whether development is rapid and discrete or gradual and iterative, we must explore this opportunity and see how far it can go.
As Professor Raisman said on BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme:
‘This [procedure] opens the door, which I had always been knocking at – to see that our nervous system has the ability to repair itself.
This is the beginning of a repair for spinal injuries and other types of injuries – including stroke.
The idea that the nervous system can repair itself in rats and in one man – there’s no reason to restrict this to just the spinal cord. It opens the door to a future which is terrifyingly large.
We’ve climbed two mountains and we are now at the foot of the (next) mountain. We have knowledge, which could be of great value, we can’t stop now.”
At nsif we are committed to funding this research through each stage of development, but we must raise the funding to ensure our work can continue. Please, consider donating, to make sure we do not – as a society – miss the chance to make another debilitating condition treatable. Scientific progress does not happen by itself: donate today, become a part of history and help it on its way.
Quotes from Professor Raisman sourced from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2800988/world-man-spinal-cord-severed-walks-paralysed-fireman-recovers-thanks-uk-research.html
Watch the BBC Panorama world exclusive here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04mm8zl