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Hope that new treatment will aid return of physical function for those with spinal cord injuries

Research recently completed by the Northwestern University of Chicago gave hope to those with spinal cord injuries. During the research, mice who had suffered from a spinal cord injury regained the ability to walk within four weeks after the injection.  

The therapy harnesses what the researchers all "dancing molecules" to repair spinal tissue and reverse paralysis. It forms nanofibers that communicate with cells to initiate repair of the injured spinal cord.

In mice, the axons regenerated and more survived; there was a decline in scar tissue which can prevent regeneration and repair; myelin reformed around the cells; and blood vessels formed which delivered nutrients to the cells;

There were no noticeable side effects.

Samuel Stupp, the founding director of the university's Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology and its affiliated research centre, the Center for Regenerative Nanomedicine stated: “We are going straight to the FDA to start the process of getting this new therapy approved for use in human patients, who currently have very few treatment options. I wanted to make a difference on the outcomes of spinal cord injury and to tackle this problem, given the tremendous impact it could have on the lives of patients. Also, new science to address spinal cord injury could have impact on strategies for neurodegenerative diseases and stroke." 

Even if limited physical functionality could be restored, this would be a considerable improvement for individuals who, often through no fault of their own, are involved in significant, high velocity trauma, rendering through tetraplegic or paraplegic.

At present, a complete spinal cord injury leads to a lifelong need for care, limited or any residual earnings capacity, extensive therapies, and a requirement for adapted accommodation. The victims often have pain and discomfort, psychological distress due to the adjustment, and associated problems due to the lack of mobility.

If there could be any improvement in the treatment of spinal cord injured people, that would of course be a very welcome development.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people affected by spinal injury at our dedicated spinal cord injury claims section.

A brighter future could be in store for people with a spinal cord injury if new animal research pans out in humans.

Mice that were paralyzed due to severe spinal cord damage regained the ability to walk within four weeks of receiving an experimental injectable therapy, say researchers led by Samuel Stupp of Northwestern University in Chicago.”