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Stem cells may hold secret to multiple spinal injury repair
21 January 2011
Scientists may soon be able to repair multiple aspects of a spinal cord injury in humans, using adult stem cells.
A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine study involving rats showed that use of multipotent adult progenitor cells (mapc) could prevent neuron retraction, promote new neuron re-growth and reduce inflammation in spinal injury.
Researchers will no doubt be hopeful that the development of such treatment can contribute significantly to reducing the costs of spinal injury treatment, which can range between $500,000 (£312,000) and $3 million (£1.9 million) in the US.
Commenting on the findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, university professor Jerry Silver explained: “Using preclinical models of spinal cord injury, we found that MAPC can both dynamically regulate macrophages, which cause inflammatory damage, and stimulate neuron growth simultaneously.
“Our results demonstrate that MAPC convey meaningful therapeutic benefits after spinal cord injury.”
Meanwhile, recent research conducted at Otago University suggests that cell tissue extracted from the nose could be transplanted to the site of spinal cord injury.
Scientists are hopeful the procedure could overcome blocks that prevent nerve cells regenerating following damage.
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Posted by Timothy Walters