Paralyzed Afghanistan veteran to undergo state-of-the-art stem cell therapy -- in China

An Army veteran who was partially paralyzed after being shot in the throat is heading to China to undergo stem cell therapy that could allow him to walk to again, according to a report in the York Dispatch.

U.S. Army Corporal Matthew Hanes was hit by sniper fire on June 22, 2012. "I was the only target that day," he told The York Daily Record.

He was transported to Germany, then to Walter Reed Hospital, but doesn't remember the trip -- or meeting President Barack Obama shortly after his 21st birthday.

But he does know that at some point during his recuperation, he began to study the latest developments in stem cell therapy, including work being done at Puhua International Hospital in Beijing, China.

Despite the advances in stem cell therapy in the United States since President Obama loosened the restrictions on research in 2009, Hanes said that the country is "so far behind on stem cell" research compared to China. That said, the hospital where Hanes will seek treatment was criticized by Nature in 2012 for using stem cell therapy to treat autism, despite the fact that "[t]he consensus in the autism research community, as well as in the stem-cell community, is that there is no scientifically valid reason for using stem cells to treat autism spectrum disorders."

On April 1, 2014, he will fly there to begin treatment that, if successful, will create a bridge of nerves between the two vertebrae that were shattered by the sniper's bullet. "They'll build what they call a nerve graft to build an artificial spinal cord in the section that got severed in the injury," Hanes said.

Hanes told the York Dispatch that, "[a]t the minimum I'll get at least some feeling back where I don't have it in certain places, but I could get everything back if it goes well."

"Regardless," he said, "I'm getting a little something and that's good enough for me."

Watch video about the procedure from the York Dispatch below.

Watch a report about Cpl. Hanes arriving home from FOX43 below.