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Cancer Drug Epothilone Causes Damaged Nerve Cells In Spinal Cord Injuries To Regrow
By News Staff | March 12th 2015 05:02 PM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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Damage to the spinal cord is often permanent because injured nerve cells fail to regenerate due to scar tissue of their long nerve fibers.

Nerve cells are wire-like conductors that transmit and receive signals in the form of electrical impulses. This function can be impaired by accidents or disease. Whether or not the affected nerves can recover largely depends on their location: for instance nerve cells in the limbs, torso and nose can regenerate to some degree and regain some or all of their function.

In contrast, the neurons in the brain and spinal cord do not have this ability. If they are damaged by accident or disease, the patient is likely to suffer long-term paralysis or other disabilities. But why is regeneration of these neurons and their long nerve fibers impeded? It is already known that inhibiting factors in newly formed scar tissue and other cellular processes block axon regrowth.

A new study shows that, in animal studies, the cancer drug epothilone reduced the formation of scar tissue in injuries to the spinal cord and stimulated growth in damaged nerve cells. Both promoted neuronal regeneration and improved the animals' motor skills.