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Thread: a cure ?when and by who?

  1. #31
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Florida Keys
    The cynic in me wants to say 5-10 years from whenever the question is asked. But such a position is self defeating. Others can wage the smug, ineffectual, falsely superior, divisive, cynical, hope killing war on the cure without my help. I do totally understand their need to defend against hope, as we have been let down so often by hype for hope.

    The reality? No one knows, and the most educated guesses seem irrelevant to a useful answer.

    I agree with Woman From Europe that inclusion and the removal of access barriers are doable now and important to fight for. I also agree with Lynnifer and others who say that "cure" progress partially (a large part) depends on the amount of energy this community (CCC and others) puts into advocating for healing therapies.
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 08-15-2007 at 07:11 AM.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  2. #32
    Senior Member Beth29's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    When I first started learning about sci (this April) I had questions like, "why can't they do by-pass surgery like they do for heart blockages". Well I was headed to CWRU to pose that question directly with the bio-engineering department and ran across this article so I never made the appointment. Sounds like progress is happening but I too wish the funds were more flowing, the blockages on stem cell research were lifted and whatever else is hindering progress would go away.

    Here is a link but I also pasted the article here in case the link doesn't work. You have to scroll down (at the site) to see the article if the link does work.

    Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Progress

    The body's spinal cord is like a super highway of nerves. When an injury occurs, the body's policing defenses put up a roadblock in the form of a scar to prevent further injury, but it stops all neural traffic from moving forward.

    Scientists from Case Western Reserve University, Drexel University and the University of Arkansas bypassed this roadblock in the spinal cord. First, the scientists regenerated the severed nerve fibers, also called axons, around the initial large lesion with a segment of peripheral nerve taken from the leg of the same animal that suffered the spinal injury. Next, they jump started neural traffic by allowing a number of nerve fibers to exit from the end of the bridge. This was accomplished, for the first time, by using an enzyme that stopped growth inhibitory molecules from forming in the small scar that forms at the exit ramp of the bridge, where it is inserted into the spinal cord on the other side of the lesion. This allowed the growing axons to reconnect with the spinal cord.

    Jerry Silver, a professor of neurosciences at the Case School of Medicine, was senior author among the scientists reporting in the Journal of Neuroscience article, "Combining an Autologous Peripheral Nervous System 'Bridge' and Matrix Modification by Chondroitinase Allows Robust Functional Regeneration beyond a Hemisection Lesion of the Adult Rat Spinal Cord." The other scientists were John Houle, the lead author, and Veronica Tom (a Case alum) from Drexel University College of Medicine; and Gail Wagoner and Napoleon Phillips from the University of Arkansas.

    The scientists employed a combination of two strategies--one old and one new--in efforts to regenerate nerves in the spinal cord and restore movement, said Silver.

    For more than 100 years, scientists have used grafts of peripheral nerves from the rib area or parts of the leg. While peripheral nerves can be used successfully as grafts in the limbs, spinal cord injuries put up defenses called inhibitory chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans that create molecular guardrails within scars at the lesion site. These scars act as a barrier to regenerating axons and result in loss of the ability to breathe or move arms or legs, depending upon the injury site.

    Silver said the medical community also assumed that the cut axon tips died when they hit the scar wall. In previous research in his lab by his graduate student, Tom, it was discovered that axons are alive and continue to attempt to grow for years. Silver describes them as "trucks stuck in mud going no where." It also explains why some people gain some movement back or come out of comas after a number of years as the nerve fibers sprout through weakened or remodeled areas of the scar.

    About 16 years ago, Silver also made another find that proteoglycans, a sugary protein, is present at the site of spinal cord lesions. He also knew that a particular enzyme from the bacteria Proteus vulgaris, called chondroitinase, might dismantle the proteoglycans by clipping their sugar branches, thereby preventing the scar wall from building.

    In a National Institutes of Health-supported animal study, 12 rats had spinal injuries at the cervical level 3 (C3) that resulted in impaired motor functions to their right side limbs. The animals had trouble moving, climbing or grooming.

    Combining the old with the new, the scientists grafted a 1.5 centimeter piece of the tibial branch of he sciatic nerve to the C3 area of the spinal cord and allowed the nerve fibers to grow and regenerate over three weeks.

    At approximately two and a half weeks into the new nerve growth, Houle implanted a small pump that delivered a steady dose of chondroitinase to a new incision site near C5 where the scientists hoped to reconnect the other end of the bridge to the spinal cord, but also prevent further scarring. They also primed the newly re-grown axons for rapid regeneration by clipping their ends.

    Silver said this method resulted in approximately 20 percent of the nerve fibers leaving the bridge and reconnecting with the spinal cord. It brought about markedly improved mobility for the seven rats given the chondroitinase therapy.

    A control group of five rats underwent the same procedure. Instead of the chondroitinase, they were given a saline solution. None showed any nerve growth out of the bridge or improvement in their limbs.

    To test whether something other than regeneration was at work in restoring movement, the neural bridges were severed and the rats lost all movement gained from the combination of therapys. This provides the most conclusive evidence to date that severed nerve fibers in the spinal cord can, in fact, regenerate for long distances and establish proper functional connections.

    Silver said if the method is perfected and successful with primates, it could go to human trials within a relatively short time.

    His next step is a neural bridge that would help quadriplegics, who are unable to breathe without assistance, move their diaphragms on their own. In future animal studies he plans to undertake nerve grafts from the leg to bridge the area of the spinal cord that controls breathing.

    "While this was one small step for a rat, it was one giant leap for man," said Silver.

    I'd like to be there while they did these experiments.
    It would be so interesting.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    West Monroe, LA, USA

    Great article. Hot damn, something to reverse quadriplegia, something to allow people to breath on their own. Excellent.

    Hope this moves along quickly. I feel something like this delivered by the researchers, before Congress, could possibly receive some clinical trial funding.

  4. #34
    Banned adi chicago's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    near dracula castle
    great post beth29 .thank you.the scientists must try diffrent procedures to find a cure.
    • Dum spiro, spero.
      • Translation: "As long as I breathe, I hope."

  5. #35
    nice post Beth , i wish them the best. hopefully they will be doing people in Cleveland area.
    oh well

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Leif
    Forget it? You can do that. But I’ll tell you, there are a couple of good projects emerging here at home now, which some has worked hard for, we don’t wait, you want to shut them down? Imagine if cancer patients said forget about it? As for accessibility, there was a survey here where I live, all public buildings was accessible, all of them. I think you live in the wrong place, why don’t you sell your place and buy a new one where you can get out?
    I can't sit here and wait for the cure the next 10 years and forget about everything else. I can't live like that, I need to have a life now too. I need a job, I need to get out of the house, I have to take care of the children and to be able to go the same places that my friends. You know I am not the one just sitting here, waiting for things to happen. I have been writing my share of letters, mail, talking in the phone and trying to fix things.

    And I am not a country girl, I like to live in the "big city"(Oslo has a population of 550 000, but it is still our capital city)

    I welcome a cure but I can't live my life only for that reason.
    TH 12, 43 years post

  7. #37
    The Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Progress article was posted in 8/06 here:

  8. #38
    Senior Member Beth29's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    Quote Originally Posted by antiquity
    The Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Progress article was posted in 8/06 here:
    Forgive me I wasn't here back then but I went and read that whole thread - so thank you. If I have questions or comments about the article in the link should I post it there even though no one's posted in it since 2006 or may I do it here?

  9. #39
    Member Rebechi_Brazil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Taquaritinga - Sao Paulo - Brazil
    Quote Originally Posted by chasb
    What, no votes for the Miami Project ? ...I'm shocked.
    On a more serious note, it is impossible to venture a timeframe guesstimate at this point. Nobody understands how the human body is going to react to proposed therapies. I feel within 2 years from the start of the scheduled human trials, many answers will become clearer. Whether (or not) the researchers are going in the correct direction, with their assumptions.
    I admire your optimism, but will wait around ten years and we talked again; will see that little thing changed.

    Get about two billion dollars and make a donation for USP (University of São Paulo) that will have the total cure of the paraplegy in less than five years.

    Greet and happiness

  10. #40
    What is happening at USP that makes you so confident in them? I am not current at all on what is being done there.
    I believe that your point is correct - big money. The more money, the faster the cures. I would rather see 2 billion distributed to various scientists, collaborating, for a faster cure, as opposed to just one institution working on one or two ideas. However, that really won't be a problem until we have $2 billion and that is a problem that I would very much enjoy having. : ]
    Karen M
    C 3/4 inc. central cord
    10/29/1992 - 18 years, but who counts?

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