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Thread: Injection of laminin fragment improves walking recovery by rats

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Science of tomorrow promises to alleviate suffering from intractable ailments of toda

    Article Posted: 04/23/2007 7:14:05 AM
    Science of tomorrow promises to alleviate suffering from intractable ailments of today


    WASHINGTON, DC -- Imagine a world where damaged organs in your body—Kidneys, liver, heart—can be stimulated to heal themselves. Envision people tragically paralyzed whose injured spinal cords can be repaired. Think about individuals suffering from the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s relieved of their symptoms – completely and permanently.

    Dr. Samuel I. Stupp, director of the Institute of BioNanotechnology in Medicine at Northwestern University, is one of a new breed of scientists combining nanotechnology and biology to enable the body to heal itself -- and who are achieving amazing early results. Dr. Stupp’s work suggests that nanotechnology can be used to mobilize the body’s own healing abilities to repair or regenerate damaged cells.

    In a dramatic demonstration of what nanotechnology might achieve in regenerative medicine, paralyzed lab mice with spinal cord injuries have regained the ability to walk using their hind limbs six weeks after a simple injection of a purpose-designed nanomaterial.

    A video of Dr. Stupp discussing his groundbreaking research with collaborator John Kessler is available on April 24 at www.nanotechproject.org/114.

    "By injecting molecules that were designed to self-assemble into nanostructures in the spinal tissue, we have been able to rescue and regrow rapidly damaged neurons," said Dr. Stupp at an April 23 session hosted by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "The nanofibers – thousands of times thinner than a human hair – are the key to not only preventing the formation of harmful scar tissue which inhibits spinal cord healing, but to stimulating the body into regenerating lost or damaged cells."

    Stupp’s work hinges on a fundamental area of nanotechnology – self-assembly – that someday should enable medical researchers to tailor and deliver individualized patient treatments in previously unimaginable ways. Stupp and his coworkers designed molecules with the capacity to self-assemble into nanofibers once injected into the body with a syringe. When the nanofibers form they can be immobilized in an area of tissue where it is necessary to activate some biological process, for example saving damaged cells or regenerating needed differentiated cells from stem cells.

    This same work also has implications for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, both diseases in which key brain cells stop working properly.

    During his presentation, Dr. Stupp allowed a rare glimpse into ongoing research with collaborators in Mexico and Canada, showing the impressive visual of mice recovering from the symptoms of Parkinson's disease after being exposed to the bioactive nanostructures developed in Stupp's laboratory at Northwestern University. Stupp also showed another nanotechnology achievement in joint work with Jon Lomasney at Northwestern demonstrating the use of nanostructures and proteins to achieve recovery of heart function after an infarction.

    "This research provides an early glimpse into the new and exciting places where nanotechnology can take us," said Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies Director David Rejeski at the session, which also served as the release of the new report NanoFrontiers: Visions for the Future of Nanotechnology. www.nanotechproject.org/114 "This type of work helps us to see beyond first generation, ‘gee-whiz’ nanotech applications like better tennis racquets or anti-static fabrics, and reach for an end to human suffering from Parkinson’s, heart disease, and even cancer."

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    Senior Member KIM's Avatar
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    Injection of laminin fragment improves walking recovery by rats

    Paralyzed lab rodents with spinal cord injuries apparently regained some ability to walk six weeks after a simple injection of biodegradable soap-like molecules that helped nerves regenerate.

    The research could have implications for humans with similar injuries.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...atingparalysis

  3. #3
    KIM, thanks. Here is a relevant excerpt from the article. It is from Kessler's laboratory. He is a neurologist who has a spinal-injured daughter at Northwestern University.

    I merged posts from KIM and Jeremy into the same topic.

    Wise.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...atingparalysis

    Charles Q. Choi
    Special to LiveScience
    LiveScience.com Mon Apr 23, 10:10 AM ET

    Paralyzed lab rodents with spinal cord injuries apparently regained some ability to walk six weeks after a simple injection of biodegradable soap-like molecules that helped nerves regenerate.

    The research could have implications for humans with similar injuries.

    "It will take a long time, but we want to offer at least some improvement, to improve quality of life for people with these injuries," materials scientist Samuel Stupp at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., told LiveScience. "Anything would be considered a breakthrough, because there's nothing right now."

    The soap-like molecules contain a small piece of laminin, a natural protein important in brain development. After these molecules are injected into the body, they react with chemicals there, assembling themselves instantly into scaffolds of super-thin fibers just six billionths of a meter wide, roughly a hundredth a wavelength of orange light. They biodegrade after roughly eight weeks.

    The scientists experimented with their molecules on dozens of mice and rats that experienced spinal cord injuries that paralyzed their hind legs, "the kind of very hard blow people might experience after falling off skiing slopes or getting in car accidents," Stupp said. His colleague, neurologist John Kessler, became active in this work after Kessler's daughter was paralyzed in a skiing accident.

    After six weeks, damaged nerves regenerated enough for the paralyzed legs of the rodents to regain some ability to walk.

    "There's a special scale to monitor how much function they regained, ranging from 0 to 21," Stupp explained. "At 21, function is perfect. At 6 or 7, limbs are just paralyzed, and the mice were just dragging them along. If you go to 9 to 12, the animal can now actually move the limbs. Not perfectly—awkwardly—but they move. So two or three points on that scale makes a huge difference."

    "We've been able to go from a 7 to a 9 in the mouse, and in the rat, the highest was 12," he said. The findings are to be presented today at a meeting of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies in Washington, D.C.

    The researchers are currently in talks with the FDA regarding their work and hope to start phase I clinical trials (for toxicity and safety testing) in humans two years from now, Stupp said. The idea he and his colleagues have for these molecules is to administer them within a day or so after spinal cord injuries, before scar tissue begins to form that can suppress healing. Past experiments have shown these molecules can actually turn neural stem cells (which might otherwise become scar cells) into neurons instead.

  4. #4
    The researchers are currently in talks with the FDA regarding their work and hope to start phase I clinical trials (for toxicity and safety testing) in humans two years from now, Stupp said.
    I wonder if they could take this to trial quicker if they had more money or if it's a application/proposal processing issue. I wonder how much they need?

  5. #5
    Senior Member cypresss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KIM
    ....
    The idea he and his colleagues have for these molecules is to administer them within a day or so after spinal cord injuries, before scar tissue begins to form that can suppress healing......

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...atingparalysis
    that seems to be only for acutes....true?

  6. #6
    Returning pre injury functions will be very difficult? Duh, ya think??? Luckily, Kessler, tonnes of other work is being done that will restore way more than a bladder. Thank the Lordy more well known docs realise that walking is the goal and that all functions need addressin'.

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