German scientists make paralyzed mice walk again
By Stephane Nitschke and Zuzanna Szymanska (Reuters) - German researchers have enabled mice paralyzed after spinal cord injuries to walk again, re-establishing a neural link hitherto considered irreparable in mammals by using a designer protein injected into the brain. Spinal cord injuries in humans, often caused by sports or traffic accidents, leave them paralyzed because not all of the nerve fibers that carry information between muscles and the brain are able to grow back.
By Stephane Nitschke and Zuzanna Szymanska
(Reuters) - German researchers have enabled mice paralyzed after spinal cord injuries to walk again, re-establishing a neural link hitherto considered irreparable in mammals by using a designer protein injected into the brain.
Spinal cord injuries in humans, often caused by sports or traffic accidents, leave them paralyzed because not all of the nerve fibers that carry information between muscles and the brain are able to grow back.
But the researchers from Ruhr University Bochum managed to stimulate the paralyzed mice's nerve cells to regenerate using a designer protein.
"The special thing about our study is that the protein is not only used to stimulate those nerve cells that produce it themselves, but that it is also carried further (through the brain)," the team's head Dietmar Fischer told Reuters in an interview.
"In this way, with a relatively small intervention, we stimulate a very large number of nerves to regenerate and that is ultimately the reason why the mice can walk again."
The paralyzed rodents that received the treatment started walking after two to three weeks, he said.
The treatment involves injecting carriers of genetic information into the brain to produce the protein, called hyper-interleukin-6, according to the university's website.
The team is investigating if the treatment can be improved.
"We also have to see if our method works on larger mammals. We would think of pigs, dogs or primates, for example," Fischer said.
"Then, if it works there, we would have to make sure that the therapy is safe for humans too. But that will certainly take many, many years."
(Reporting by Stephane Nitschke and Zuzanna Szymanska; editing by John Stonestreet)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.