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Thread: Promising research at Northwestern

  1. #1

    Promising research at Northwestern

    Dr. Kessler was featured on the PBS show a little while back. Looks like his research has been published. Bravo to him and all the others who are working so hard to cure SCI.

    PROMISING NEW NANOTECHNOLOGY FOR SPINAL CORD INJURY

    CHICAGO -- A spinal cord injury often leads to permanent paralysis
    and loss of sensation below the site of the injury because the
    damaged nerve fibers can't regenerate. The nerve fibers or axons have
    the capacity to grow again, but don't because they're blocked by scar
    tissue that develops around the injury.

    Northwestern University researchers have shown that a nano-engineered
    gel inhibits the formation of scar tissue at the injury site and
    enables the severed spinal cord fibers to regenerate and grow. The
    gel is injected as a liquid into the spinal cord and self -assembles
    into a scaffold that supports the new nerve fibers as they grow up
    and down the spinal cord, penetrating the site of the injury.

    When the gel was injected into mice with a spinal cord injury, after
    six weeks the animals had a greatly enhanced ability to use their
    hind legs and walk.

    The research is published today in the April 2 issue of the Journal
    of Neuroscience.

    "We are very excited about this," said lead author John Kessler,
    M.D., Davee Professor of Stem Cell Biology at Northwestern
    University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "We can inject this without
    damaging the tissue. It has great potential for treating human beings."

    Kessler stressed caution, however, in interpreting the results. "It's
    important to understand that something that works in mice will not
    necessarily work in human beings. At this point in time we have no
    information about whether this would work in human beings."

    "There is no magic bullet or one single thing that solves the spinal
    cord injury, but this gives us a brand new technology to be able to
    think about treating this disorder," said Kessler, also the chair of
    the Davee Department of Neurology at the Feinberg School. "It could
    be used in combination with other technologies including stem cells,
    drugs or other kinds of interventions."

    "We designed our self-assembling nanostructures -- the building
    blocks of the gel -- to promote neuron growth," said co-author Samuel
    I. Stupp, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and
    Engineering, Chemistry, and Medicine and director of Northwestern's
    Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine. "To actually see the
    regeneration of axons in the spinal cord after injury is a
    fascinating outcome."

    The nano-engineered gel works in several ways to support the
    regeneration of spinal cord nerve fibers. In addition to reducing the
    formation of scar tissue, it also instructs the stem cells --which
    would normally form scar tissue -- to instead to produce a helpful
    new cell that makes myelin. Myelin is a substance that sheaths the
    axons of the spinal cord to permit the rapid transmission of nerve
    impulses.

    The gel's scaffolding also supports the growth of the axons in two
    critical directions -- up the spinal cord to the brain (the sensory
    axons) and down to the legs (the motor axons.) "Not everybody
    realizes you have to grow the fibers up the spinal cord so you can
    feel where the floor is. If you can't feel where the floor is with
    your feet, you can't walk," Kessler said.

    Now Northwestern researchers are working on developing the nano-
    engineered gel to be acceptable as a pharmaceutical for the Food and
    Drug Administration.

    If the gel is approved for humans, a clinical trial could begin in
    several years.

    "It's a long way from helping a rodent to walk again and helping a
    human being walk again," Kessler stressed again. "People should never
    lose sight of that. But this is still exciting because it gives us a
    new technology for treating spinal cord injury."
    Ugh, I've been kissed by a dog!
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    -- Lucy VanPelt

  2. #2
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    If the gel is approved for humans, a clinical trial could begin in
    several years.
    This would mean clinical trials in 2015 if things go well with results published in 2020 or so.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kratos's Avatar
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    just one more 'promising research'... or promising research nr. 1255489631...
    http://www.facebook.com/ivicamaotze.rod

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