To Walk Again (Panorama)

Transplant of olfactory ensheathing cells from the olfactory bulb to a man's own spine allowed for repair

Transplant of olfactory ensheathing cells from the olfactory bulb into a man’s own spine allowed reconnection between his brain and his lower limbs

Broadcaster: BBC 1

Year: 2014

Genre: Factual, News

In October 2014 research described as “more impressive than man walking on the moon” was published. Stem cells from Darek Fidyka’s olfactory bulbs (from the top of the nose) were used to repair damage to his spinal cord, reconnecting his brain with his lower extremities. A one-hour Panorama special looked in detail at what had been achieved. The coverage was notable for the balance in which the magnitude of the breakthrough was tempered by realism about the fact that, to date, this is just one patient and there is a need to see this replicated by different researchers in different labs.

A number of other news programmes covered the story on the same day. These include:

  • Channel 4 News John Snow starts this 10 minute piece by stating that it is not often that you can report a truly remarkable breakthrough. In addition to coverage of the main story it also contains a very interesting studio interview with two women who are themselves wheelchair users following earlier accidents. Neither is certain that from their current vantage point they would want to undergo this treatment and argue for better recognition of disabled people in our society
  • BBC News at 10 This clip (6 mins) includes a package that summarises the key issues, plus a separate piece featuring Daniel Nicholls, whose father David funded some of the breakthrough research and an interview with Geoffrey Raisman who emphasised that the work was still at an early stage
  • ITV News A 3 minute summary of the story and an in-studio interview with Geoff Raisman and David Nicholls

The BBC news website also has a written version of the story Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant (including links to a short video clip)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s