Paralyzed patients stand again

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A new development in spinal cord injury research is showing great promise for paralysis patients.

It's an electrical stimulator implanted in the spine, and it's being called a breakthrough.

It recently enabled four men, all paralyzed from the chest down, to stand.

The men say procedure is also improving their health and quality of life.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports

Dustin Shillcox is paralyzed from the chest down... So what you're about to see shouldn't be possible.

Dustin can stand up.

And so can the other paralyzed men in this photo.

Kent Stephenson.

Andrew Meas.

And rob summers.

(Dustin Shillcox)  "To be able to stand when people say you can't well it's a total game changer. It's awesome."

Spinal cord injury researchers say this is a breakthrough - to go from sitting to standing on their own volition.

So how'd they do it?

This electrical implant.

Once in, with the right voltage paralyzed test subjects could move their toes.

(NATS, Elizabeth observing)  "Whoa! There you go. Oh my gosh."

And pretty soon, their legs.

But the big question is will standing lead to a step and maybe one day even walking?

It's too soon to know, but already the men have better bowel, bladder, and sexual function.

(Dustin Shillcox)  "The feeling I get every time I stand up is breathtaking.  It shows that there's a light at the end of the tunnel."

The Christopher and Dave Reeve Foundation helped fund the research, and is raising $15 million dollars to do the procedure on other patients.