Adult Stem Cell Research Pioneer Dr. Carlos Lima Dies

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 3, 2012   |   10:20AM   |   Lisbon, Portugal

Dr. Carlos Lima, a pioneer in adult stem cell research to treat spinal cord injuries died suddenly on June 21, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

“Dr. Lima, who was based in Portugal, developed a procedure for chronic, severe spinal cord injury in which patients received their own stem cells contained in tissue from the inside of the nose called olfactory mucosa stem cells,” it said. “Dr. Lima and his team in Portugal performed this surgery on over 100 patients with few adverse events and dramatic functional improvement when accompanied by appropriate physical rehabilitation regimes.”

“Two of Dr. Lima’s patients were profiled in the PBS series Innovation,” the institute continued. “More recently, in animal models, olfactory mucosal stem cells were delivered into the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.”

“Dr. Jean Peduzzi-Nelson of Wayne State University has been working to bring the technique to treat spinal cord injuries developed by Dr. Lima to clinical trial here in the United States,” CLI indicated.

Lima has had some successes in taking ASC’s from the base of the patient’s brain and transferring them to the site of injury in the spinal cord (olfactory mucosa autografts) and actually getting people walking with various degrees of success. To learn more about this from the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, click here.

As CLI noted, Lima’s research team also used autologous olfactory stem cell transplants and put them into the spinal lesions of paraplegic and tetraplegic patients.

In a July 2006 Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine article, they wrote that adult stem cells are beginning to offer the most hope for those paralyzed from spinal cord injuries. Lima’s team’s adult stem cell research showed restored motor function and sensation in a few paralyzed patients using adult stem cells obtained from a patient’s own nose.



Lima and his research team demonstrated that a patient’s own adult stem cells and olfactory mucosa can treat paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

“Every patient had improvement in ASIA motor scores,” Lima wrote in his team’s paper. “This study shows that olfactory mucosa autograft transplantation into the human injured spinal cord is feasible, relatively safe, and potentially beneficial.”