April 12, 2024

Stem cell breakthrough gives hope for spinal cord injury treatment

Brain stem cells could restore movement to paralysed patients

Researchers have discovered that adult stem
cells from the brain could be used to restore movement to paralysed patients.
Experts say the breakthrough could lead to the creation of a spare set of
matching cells which could then be used to “repair” damage to the spinal cord.

The study, conducted by researchers from
the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, involved transplanting
“neural stem cells” (NSCs) to mice with severe spinal cord injuries. They were
then administered valproic acid, used to treat epilepsy. The acid promoted the
transplanted stem cells to generate nerve cells rather than other types of
brain cell.

According to Prof Kinichi Nakashima, who
led the study, the method could be developed as an effective treatment for
serious spinal cord injuries. “The body’s capacity to restore damaged neural
networks in the injured… is severely limited,” he told the Telegraph. “Although
various treatment regimens can partially alleviate spinal cord injury, the
mechanisms responsible for symptomatic improvement remain elusive. These
findings raise the possibility that (stem cells)… can be manipulated to provide
effective treatment for spinal cord injuries.”

Tamir Ben-Hur from Hadassah Hebrew
University Medical School, Israel, said that despite the study’s “impressive”
results, further work was necessary “before it can be determined whether this
approach will work in human patients”. ~ Telegraph,
Aug 17

Jared Yee
stem cells