Monday, November 26, 2012

Paralyzed Dog walks again - help for humans?

not a dachsund, my pit bull coco.
this is wonderful... Copied verbatim
From CARE2
"Dogs with spinal cord injuries that prevented 
them from using their back legs are able to 
walk again, thanks to receiving a transplant 
of cells grown from the lining of their nose.
You can see the results yourself for a 
10-year-old dachsund, Jasper, via a video on the BBC. As his owner, 
May Hay, noted:
“Before the treatment we used to have to wheel Jasper round on a trolley 
because his back legs were useless. Now he whizzes around the house and 
garden and is able to keep up with the other dogs. It’s wonderful.”
Out of 34 dogs in a trial, 23 had the cells injected into the injury site; 
the rest received an injection of neural fluids. Many of those who had 
received the transplants of olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC) were able — 
quite miraculously —  to walk on a treadmill, with the aid of a harness. 
Some dogs also regained bowel and bladder control though not in 
significant numbers, say the Telegraph.
The olfactory system is the only part of the body in which nerve fibers 
keep growing in adult mammals. Cells called olfactory ensheathing cells 
(OEC) are found at the back of the nasal cavity. They are located around 
the receptor neurons that help us smell and send signals to the brain; 
they must be replaced constantly.
The researchers removed OECs from the lining of the dogs’ nose canals; 
these were then grown in laboratories for some weeks. The transplanted 
neural cells regenerated the nerve fibers across the dogs’ damaged spinal 
cord regions, thus giving them use of their back legs again and also 
helping them to coordinate movements with their front legs.
The study, by researchers from the U.K.’s Medical Research Council’s 
Regenerative Medicine Centre and Cambridge University’s Veterinary 
School, was the first in which the participants were not laboratory 
animals but had “real life” health problems and injuries.
Could the Treatment Be Used For Humans?
Scientists have previously thought that OECs might be useful in treating 
spinal cord injuries and are “cautiously optimistic” that they might help 
to treat human patients. Initial trials using OECs in humans have shown 
them to be safe.
Professor Robin Franklin, a regeneration biologist at the Wellcome Trust-
MRC Stem Cell Institute and co-author of the study, noted that “We’re 
confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small 
amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries but that’s 
a long way from saying they might be able to regain all lost function.” 
The new procedure might be used to treat those with damaged neural 
networks, along with drug treatments and bioengineering.
Prof Geoffrey Raisman, chair of Neural Regeneration at University College 
London, who discovered OECs in 1985, pointed out that the treatment was by 
no means a cure for spinal cord injuries in humans. As he said to the BBC, 
”This procedure has enabled an injured dog to step with its hind legs, but 
the much harder range of higher functions lost in spinal cord injury – 
hand function, bladder function, temperature regulation, for example – are 
yet more complicated and still a long 
way away.”
The new nerve connections that the OEC procedure made possible were for much 
shorter distances than would be needed to connect the brain to the spinal 
Still, for Jasper and the other dogs for whom the procedure was successful, 
regaining the ability to move around must have been — must be — a thrill and, 
as his owner tells the Telegraph, “utterly magic.” "
Science is wonderful!
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