Meet Chris Pina, patient #2 in the world’s largest clinical trial focused on upper limb recover using spinal neuromodulation treatment for people living with chronic quadriplegia.
Christopher Pina was left paralyzed from the neck down (C6/7) from a spinal cord injury after he dove into the water while boating with friends in 2010 near his home in Miami, Florida. Chris no longer had any touch sensation or muscle functions from his shoulders down through the rest of his body.
“I had some shoulder functions, but no function in my arms, hands, or fingers.”
How he got into the first clinical trial
After living with chronic complete quadriplegia for eight years, he read a news report about new research results from spinal neuromodulation treatment for paralysis recovery and contacted the research team.
“About a year after first talking with them [Drs. Reggie Edgerton and Parag Gadd], I was able to go experience the treatment for myself. I participated in a research study in 2018 focused on improving breathing where they put the stimulators on the higher parts of my spinal cord to affect my breathing muscles.
Results he achieved in the breathing function clinical trial
“From the first day that I was able to get the treatment, I instantly felt I was able to breath easier. I was able to take deeper breaths. It was easier for me to cough. When you are laying paralyzed for long periods, not being able to cough can be very dangerous.”
“If you are familiar with spinal cord injuries, the higher ones like mine do very much affect the breathing. I was lucky that I did not have to have a tracheotomy when I when I was in the hospital, but I know many people with my type of injury who did because paralysis that high does very much restrict your breathing.”
When that breathing study was completed, Chris reported that his breathing ability was much improved and his oxygen intake was much higher and over all he felt much better.
“I definitely recommend this treatment for everyone suffering from a spinal cord injury, especially because it is non-invasive. No surgery is required. The treatment just stimulus through the skin.
“I know the treatment is not now widely available, and that is the purpose of doing these additional trials so that these treatment can be made available to everyone suffering from paralysis: stroke victims, spinal cord injury patients.”
What Chris is doing now
In November 2020, Chris enrolled in a new clinical trial at Edgerton Labs focused on gripping function recovery in the hands arms using spinal neuromodulation treatment for patients living with chronic complete quadriplegia. Chris is the second patient in that study to receive therapeutic treatment. Reports on his continuing recovery progress will be shared in the second quarter of 2021.