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Thread: More Good News 2

  1. #1
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    More Good News 2

    From The Times of London

    April 21, 2002

    Cells that mend nerves offer hope of paralysis cure

    Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

    SCIENTISTS seeking cures for paralysis have announced a breakthrough with a treatment that has rebuilt the severed spines of paraplegic rats. The scientists used cells taken from inside the animals' noses which when
    transplanted into the spine were found to have the power to regrow as spinal nerve cells.

    The treatment, which it is hoped will work with humans, resulted in rats whose hind limbs had been completely paralysed regaining the power to walk and climb.

    The team, based in Spain, will unveil details at a conference tomorrow. They emphasise that a treatment for paralysed humans is still a long way off and that the procedure will first have to be tested on primates - and only then on humans if it proves successful.

    If the research is confirmed, it will be the first breakthrough in the area. Treating paralysis caused by broken or damaged spines is one of the most intractable of medical problems.

    This is because nerve cells, unlike almost every other cell in the body, do not regenerate when injured. It means that when a spine is fractured, the bones will heal but the vital nerves running through the spine remain severed.

    The best known case of such an injury is that of Christopher Reeve, the film actor who played Superman. He remains paralysed after his spine was broken when he fell from a horse. Every year there are hundreds of such injuries in Britain, often happening to young people who suffer motorcycle or sports accidents.

    In recent years, however, scientists have found that nerve cells can be treated in ways that make them grow artificially. The research group, led by Almudena Ramon-Cueto at the Molecular Biology Centre of Valencia, found their treatment allowed 40% of rats with paralysed hind legs to regain normal movement.

    Ramon-Cueto's work was funded by the wealthy owners of a footwear company who have a family member affected by a spinal cord injury. A scientific paper describes how 21 paralysed rats were treated, nine of which completely recovered mobility and sensation in their limbs.

    The treatment involved nerve cells called olfactory ensheathing glia cells being taken from the olfactory bulb, a collection of cells inside the nose. These were transplanted into the rats' damaged spines, where they promoted the re-growth of cells across the gap in the spine.

    Following the transplant, the rodents were put through tests in which they had to climb a grating to reach a chocolate cream. Nine were able to climb a 45-degree slope and two of those could still climb it when it was placed vertically.

    Physical examinations of the animals proved that the damaged tissue had repaired itself.

    Other research into human spine repair has had limited success. Some of the best results to date were achieved with Melissa Holley, a teenager who was badly injured in a car crash in June 2000. She was left completely paralysed and with no feeling from her chest downwards.

    Scientists tried an experimental procedure in which immune system cells were injected into her crushed spine. She recovered limited movement in her toes and legs.

    The breakthrough was not enough to let her walk again, but gave scientists hope that further research could bring success.

    James Kelly

  2. #2
    this is probably just some crackpot just experimenting for the sake of science. They have not really proven anything since it has never been tried on humans. We will never get a cure if they keep wasting money on unproven therapies.

  3. #3
    I think I will wake up tomorrow and try to call 50 doctors and ask them if they believe this OEG Research is worth pursuing. I bet 48 of the 50 probably believe that nothing can be accomplished with this research for a least a hundred years. It will probably be too expensive for the average individual to obtain any way, so we might as well quit wasting money on this research.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bill j.'s Avatar
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    We all need to say a little prayer that theraputic cloning is outlawed and criminalized. Otherwise, according to Jim Kelly, these researchers will simply abandoned their OEG work and take up theraputic cloning until they reach retirement age at which time they will retire without making any significant contributions to find a cure for paralysis or anything else.

    [This message was edited by Bill J. on Apr 22, 2002 at 09:37 AM.]

  5. #5
    My brain has real trouble digesting all the scientific info but can anyone more expert tell me whether my son - who along with his SCI (seven months ago) sustained a head injury which has left him with little sense of smell or taste and what there is is not as before - would lose out on this particular route of research? Thanks.

    Mum

    Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon

  6. #6
    Mum,

    Many places are attempting now to develop sources of stem cells. This is a report that a group in Madrid, Spain, headed by Almudena Ramon-Cueto will be reporting or has reported some promising results concerning cell transplantation therapy in primate and rats. This group reported last year that olfactory ensheathing glial cells enhance regeneration in rats with cut spinal cords. I believe that they will be reporting the results of their monkey work. If you do a search for OEG, you will find many discussions of OEG. In my opinion, this is one of the most promising avenues of research now in spinal cord injury. Regarding its applicability to head injury, I suspect that it may be useful as well although I don't know of any direct study of this transplant therapy in an animal head injury model.

    Wise.

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    That's interesting...I can walk in braces and I'm a T5 complete. Why can't Melissa Holley? Her injury was lower than mine and I haven't had any biological therapies.

    Also, Melissa is less than 2 years post injury....One year and 9 months if I remember correctly....Why has the media decided she isn't going to walk?

    [This message was edited by Eric Texley on Apr 22, 2002 at 11:20 AM.]

  8. #8
    Senior Member mk99's Avatar
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    That's interesting...I can walk in braces and I'm a T5 complete. Why can't Melissa Holley? Her injury was lower than mine and I haven't had any biological therapies.

    Also, Melissa is less than 2 years post injury....One year and 9 months if I remember correctly....Why has the media decided she isn't going to walk?
    Yeah me too. T4 use long leg braces on a regular basis. I remember seeing an interview with her on TV and she showed how she was moving her legs and that she got her bladder function back. They asked her if she's tried walking and her response was something about how the PTs didn't think she was ready to try standing, etc. I found it difficult to understand why she would just listen to them so quickly/easily and not even try... she's got SOMETHING to work with. First therapy should be immediately to go to suspended treadmill training.

    I think a lot of PT is really pitiful and nowhere near agressive enough. Maybe I'm just a stubborn idiot.

  9. #9

    I was

    with Melissa about a month ago at a fundraising dinner. She is currently in college, a sophomore, in Arkansas.

    She's healthy and has completed a gaiting program last summer. She also does a lot of pool (walking) therapy.

    From what I could tell she does have some inner quad muscle control as well as toes, feet, bowel, bladder. Progress continues. However, like many of us, has come to the realization that the chair is more efficient for day to day living.

    Melissa, from what I can tell, is also a pretty private person and by no means am I speaking for her. Just my observations.

    And yes, Melissa was injured in late June, 2000.

    Onward and Upward!

  10. #10

    For Dr Young

    Thanks for your response to my query. You told me not to be afraid to ask 'stupid' questions so here's another one ... what I meant by asking if my son would lose out on this research route was not would it help his anosmia, but would the damage that has caused his anosmia mean his OEG cells are of no use when it comes to their being used to help his SCI? Does this make sense?

    Thanks.
    Mum

    Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon

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