23 year-old Katie Sharify may never walk again, and she is aware of this fact. Yet her participation in a high profile stem cell application trial means she is only the fifth person in the United States to be injected with embryonic stem cells, and is also the very last person to join a study of paralyzed patients before it was suddenly cancelled.
Sharify had 2 million stem cells injected into her spine on Nov. 16, just two weeks after being in a brutal car accident on Interstate 5 that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
It’s been a difficult time for Sharify: Coming to terms with her sudden disability, being given hope through a new clinical trial and the disappointment of the trial being discontinued has not been easy.
The Pleasanton, California native said her experiences have had an unusually positive effect on her:
“I used to be this shallow girl. I only cared about my hair and makeup and going to clubs,” said Sharify on Tuesday. “Now, for the first time ever, I feel really passionate about something. I have been given the power of being a spokesperson and advocating for stem cell research.
“I want other people to learn about this research. And I want them to see someone like me, a 23-year-old who’s ready to go on with her life.”
At Angeles hospital patient-funded stem cell application trials are in progress for a number of health conditions. In addition, Angeles hospital uses adult stem cells only. This clears up many of the ethical and moral dilemmas that patients such as Katie face as adult stem cell application does not involve the use or destruction of any living organism. Instead the patient’s own fat cells are used. To find out how we can help you please contact us using the form on the right.