Stem cells may help treat spinal cord injuries

Scientists have successfully used stem cells for the first time to promote regeneration after injury to a specialised band of spinal chord nerve fibres

IANS April 18, 2016 17:45:37 IST
Stem cells may help treat spinal cord injuries

Tokyo: Scientists have successfully used stem cells for the first time to promote regeneration after injury to a specialised band of spinal chord nerve fibres that are important for motor function.

Stem cells may help treat spinal cord injuries

Representational image. Getty Images.

Researchers from Hokkaido University in Japan together with an international team of scientists implanted specialised embryonic stem cells into the severed spinal cords of rats.

The stem cells, called neural progenitor cells, were taken from rat embryos and directed to develop as spinal cord tissue.

The implants, or "grafts," promoted extensive regeneration of the severed nerve fibres, with the rats showing improvement in their ability to move their forelimbs.

The team also used grafts of human neural stem cells in injured rats with similar results, demonstrating the potential of the success of this method across species.

The corticospinal tract (CST) is a band of nerve fibres that travels from the brain, through the brain stem and into the spinal cord.

This structure is very important for motor function in humans.

Injuries to the CST can result in paralysis. Much research has been done, with some progress, on using stem cells to regenerate other bands of nerve fibres in the spinal cord.

But these have involved small gaps between the severed nerves in the presence of bands of bridging tissue. Lesions to nerve fibres located in the CST, however, and those involving large gaps and no bands of bridging tissue have proven largely resistant to regeneration.

The success of the current trial, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, is promising for the future treatment of humans with severe spinal cord injuries, researchers said.

But much work remains to be done before it can be translated into clinical treatments, they said.

Updated Date:

also read

India registers 27,176 new COVID-19 cases, 284 deaths in last 24 hrs; recovery rate at 97.6%
India

India registers 27,176 new COVID-19 cases, 284 deaths in last 24 hrs; recovery rate at 97.6%

With the fresh cases, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,33,16,755, while the toll has climbed to 4,43,497, according to the data updated at 8 am

Fire damages Pattaya's popular night club; no casualties reported
World

Fire damages Pattaya's popular night club; no casualties reported

The fire, which began in the Nashaa Club, spread to several adjoining structures on the city’s famous Walking Street

UK’s National Health Service starts world's largest trial of Galleri blood test
World

UK’s National Health Service starts world's largest trial of Galleri blood test

Pioneered by Grail Inc, the Galleri blood test can be used to detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear