Spinal cord injuries are always serious, and can lead to partial or complete paralysis.There is no complete cure for paralysis, and a victim’s best opportunity for recovery of his physical abilities is through a comprehensive physical therapy and rehabilitation program that helps him strengthen muscles, and increase coordination abilities.(We are fortunate in Atlanta to have Shepherd Center, one of the best brain and spinal cord injury hospitals in the world.)
Researchers at the University of Cambridge are now claiming some success in reversing paralysis in dogs by injecting stem cells from the nasal lining of the nose to the injury site.The study was a collaborative effort between the Cambridge University Veterinary School and the Medical Research Council’s Regenerative Medicine Center.The results of the study were published recently in the journal Brain, and found that animals that were injected with the nasal stem cells taken from the olfactory lining regained some movement in their hind legs.
The researchers studied 34 dogs, 23 of which were administered stem cell injections into the site of the injury.The rest of the dogs were treated with a neutral fluid.Researchers compared the progress in both of the groups of dogs.
They found that the dogs that had received a stem cell transplant from the olfactory lining had significant improvement movement in their legs.In fact, they were even able to walk on a treadmill after a period of time using a harness.However, in the 2nd group of dogs that were not given the stem cell transplants, there was no improvement and no movement of limbs.
According to the researchers, they noticed that in the dogs that had been administered the stem cells, the cells led to the regeneration of nerve fibers in the damaged spinal cord.The regenerated nerve fibers helped the dogs use their hind legs.The dogs were also able to coordinate movements using their front legs.
Our Atlanta spinal cord injury attorneys are encouraged by this news, and we look forward to monitoring progress in helping humans with spinal cord injuries.That may not be as easy as expected, however.The researchers indicated that in their research they found that the regenerated nerve connections did not extend far enough to connect the brain with the spinal cord, which would be essential if these test results were to be replicated in human beings.Without a connection between the brain and the spinal cord, it would be impossible to restore bowel and bladder control in human beings who have suffered similar injuries.
The researchers admit that these results cannot be immediately translated into a cure for spinal cord injury in human beings.However, they say that these are preliminary test findings that are very encouraging, and there may be further research in human beings too.