Monday, July 01, 2013

Nerve Cells Regrown In Rats With Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers at the Case Western Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic have developed a technique that regenerates nerve cells in rats, permitting them to urinate normally after severe spinal cord injury. The results of their research are published in today's edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.

According to scientists Yu-Shang Lee and Jerry Silver, their technique raises hope that humans with such injuries may also be able to restore bladder and other functions.

The new treatment approach developed by Lee and Silver's team removes scar tissues from damaged nerve cells and grafts healthy cells onto the damaged area of the spinal cord. Two chemicals are then added, one to promote cell growth and another to disrupt scar formation.

Reports of this technique are the latest in a recent series of developments that give hope to those with spinal cord injuries and other conditions that involve nerve damage.

Last month a small private company, Celvive, reported positive results from a method for introducing healthy adult stem cells from the patient's own body into injury areas. That study is being conducted in association with UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick.

Other positive studies have been published recently by researchers in Australia who have demonstrated that blocking a protein known as EphA4 can rapidly restore balance and limb coordination of those with spinal injuries, and by a University of Nevada team that has developed a method for maintaining lives of critical neurons that often die when confronted with injured body areas.

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