Injury to the spine often means that a person becomes paralyzed and might never walk again or regain control over their lower limbs. This is usually a permanent sort of thing, but thanks to German researchers, it seems that there could be hope that one day in the future where people with spinal cord injuries and who are paralyzed might be able to walk again.
According to researchers from Ruhr University Bochum, they have found a way to help paralyzed mice walk again. This was accomplished by stimulating the mice’s nerve cells and forcing it to regenerate through the use of a designer protein. The mice that received the treatment started walking again after 2-3 weeks.
Speaking to Reuters, the research team’s head Dietmar Fischer said, “The special thing about our study is that the protein is not only used to stimulate those nerve cells that produce it themselves, but that it is also carried further (through the brain). In this way, with a relatively small intervention, we stimulate a very large number of nerves to regenerate and that is ultimately the reason why the mice can walk again.”
Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, the researchers caution that their success so far has been on mice, and whether or not it works on larger mammals like pigs, dogs, or primates remains to be seen. Even then, it will probably take years before it can be deemed safe enough for human trials, but still, it’s progress that we like to see.
Filed in. Read more about Health and Science. Source: reuters