Thousands of people face life-long losses in motor function and sensation due to spinal cord injury because a central nervous system’s components do not regenerate. In recent years, however, several different studies have led to potential treatments. For example:
- Temple University researchers found a way to fix axons (the part of the nervous system that provides the sensation of touch and sight) by boosting the expression of Lin 28 (a protein that regulates cell growth), which led to mice regaining movement and sight.
- Similarly, Aberdeen University scientists were able to regrow mice’s severed nerves by activating Epac2 (a molecule found in nerve cells).
- Meanwhile, Australia-based surgeons and their research with nerve transfers enabled 13 people with paralysis to move their hands and arms again.
- And neuroscientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology were able to help a pair of paralyzed patients walk short distances again on crutches through the use of electrical stimulation.
Now, Yale University scientists, in collaboration with Japanese researchers, have come up with another plausible strategy: repairing a patient’s injured spinal cord via intravenous injections of their own bone marrow stem cells (MSCs).
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