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Exciting Research in the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury (SCI) can be devastating. Damage to the spinal cord and surrounding tissue can result in temporary or permanent paralysis. With a significant injury to the spinal cord, the damage can cause paralysis, impact other bodily functions, and shorten an individual’s life expectancy. Modern medicine currently has no way to “rebuild” spinal cord tissue that has been damaged.

research in treatment of spinal cord injury

Promising Results in the Laboratory

In a recent article published in the Science magazine, researchers detailed findings of a promising study. Mice with spinal cord injuries were tested with a developmental treatment method. The result was almost complete recovery from the SCI. They were able to walk around normally within about 3-4 weeks from their treatment.

Read about spinal injuries in sports.

How it Works

The proposed treatment is a mixture of liquid nanofibers, each nanofiber being about 1/100,00th the thickness of a human hair. However small, these tiny fibers (made of peptides, the building blocks of protein) become very powerful when injected. When they touch the nerve tissue they join together to form a “mesh” like coating around the tissue. This mesh mimics the natural layer that surrounds the spinal cord. In addition, the cells send out signals to the body to encourage growth of nerve cells and important surrounding tissues. As they are protecting the spinal cord and promoting its growth they are also vibrating slightly. This vibration mimics other cells in the body and aids in their communication with the rest of the body. Finally, after about 12 weeks, the nanofibers have done their job and dissolve. Because the fibers are made up of peptides, chemicals naturally found in our body, there is no harmful effect on the body when they breakdown.

Treatment Method for Humans With a Spinal Cord Injury?

Researchers are very excited about the study’s results. But the treatment has not yet been tested on humans. Could this be developed into a treatment for people with spinal cord injuries? They hope so. Treatments that are effective in mice don’t always translate into treatments that are effective in humans. But the possibility is exciting. The research will continue and, as professionals in the spine industry, we’ll be watching closely.



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery