Recent Breakthrough in Medicine Thanks to Animal Research!
Potential Future Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
When spinal cord injuries occur, the nerves that are injured can cause further damage to healthy neurons due to a process called demyelination. But studies conducted by scientists on 97 rats found that transplantation of specific cells of the rats own brain soon after the injury (two weeks), led to a gain in coordination and the ability to bear weight on their hind limbs. While previous studies have shown similar results, the difference is that embryonic cells weren’t used but the animals own neural precursor cells.
The animals didn’t recover the ability to walk completely normal, but the results were very promising. They hope that this could also be done in humans one day. One current obstacle for these scientists though, is finding a way to treat those who have been paralyzed for much longer than 2 weeks. When the researchers transplanted the cells in mice with 8 week old injuries, they didn’t see the marked improvement in the mice they had seen with the transplants at 2 weeks. Looks like the researchers will have their work cut out for them, but thanks to their hard work and dedication, maybe it will lead to a treatment for paralysis one day!
The original journal article is:
J Neurosci. (March 29 2006) 26(13):3377-89 Delayed transplantation of adult neural precursor cells promotes remyelination and functional neurological recovery after spinal cord injury. Karimi-Abdolrezaee S, Eftekharpour E, Wang J, Morshead CM, Fehlings MG.
posted by Kristina Cook at 3:15 PM