TOKYO -- Masaya Nakamura can pinpoint the moment when he decided to dedicate his life to researching and treating spinal cord injuries. It was during his second year at Keio University, and he and some other students had taken a skiing trip near Nagano. One of his friends crashed into a tree at high speed, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Nakamura had been studying to become a doctor but was undecided about what type of medicine he wanted to practice -- until then. "For more than 20 years, my motivation has been to cure my friend's spinal cord injury," he said.
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