Paralyzed Camp Hill man picked for new stem cell surgery

CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – Brandon Lyons, 25, is one of only four people in the nation to be picked for a neural stem cell transplantation.

The Camp Hill man was paralyzed 13 months ago when he jumped off a pier while on vacation.

“This whole year I was really working hard to get accepted into one of these clinical trials,” said Lyons.

The clinical trial is taking place at the University of California San Diego.

This the first time the surgery is being done in the United States.

“Each patient that is enrolled in the study will receive human derived stem cells and they will receive a direct injection of these into the area of their spinal cord injury,” said Dr. Joseph Ciacci, neurosurgeon, UC San Diego Health System.

Lyons had to undergo 2 days of testing in San Diego to qualify for the clinical trial and he received the final spot.

Three patients have already undergone the surgery and are recovering.

“They have done it in various types of animals,” said Lyons. “They have mice, pigs and monkeys all walking from this. It is very exciting, very hopeful that the same theory will work for humans.”

After the surgery Lyons will be in ICU for about a week and then will stay in San Diego for about a month as he recovers so doctors can monitor his progress.

There are no promises the procedure will work.

“You do not know when or if something is going to happen so I think that is the most challenging part,” said Lyons.

But there is hope and that is what has motivated him to keep pushing.

“I am extremely excited and very optimistic,” said Lyons.

“Who knows, maybe he will be the first person here in the states to walk after stem cells,” said Kelly Bennie, Lyon’s mother.

Lyon’s surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.

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