A radical new treatment for spinal injuries has caused a lot of debating in Christchurch's Burwood Hospital in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Health multi-region ethics committee gave its approval this week for an experimental trial which involves stem cells from people's noses being injected into the site of their spinal injuries.
Dr Richard Acland, Burwood's director of the spinal injuries unit commented that the two-and-a-half year trial is a waste of money and will only create false hope. He felt that the $1 million budgeted for the study would be better spent helping people live with their disabilities.
"My concern is that diverting resources off to that is taking it away from helping people manage their lives at the moment," he said.
But Jim Faed, Otago Medical School haematologist and cell biologist, on the research team, said using the money towards helping patients in their everyday lives was like pouring it into a "great bottomless pit".
In spite of the overwhelming support and jubilation over the long-awaited approval finally being received Dr. Acland continues to have his reservations. "...to take a piece of tissue from the nose and put it into the part of the spinal cord that is damaged and then hope that some of the cells are going to regenerate and create connectivity is a little beyond comprehension."