Research Aimed at Helping Patients With Spinal Cord Injuries Gain Mobility

Groundbreaking research at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center may give patients with spinal cord injuries a chance to gain more mobility

By Marianne Favro
|  Saturday, Jun 15, 2013  |  Updated 1:37 PM PDT
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Groundbreaking research at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center may give patients with spinal cord injuries a chance to gain more mobility. Marianne Favro reports.

Groundbreaking research at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center may give patients with spinal cord injuries a chance to gain more mobility. Marianne Favro reports.

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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.

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.

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