Nasal Cell Transplants Offer Hope for Spinal Injury Victims
New research conducted on paralyzed dogs with a spinal cord injury found that these animals showed substantial improvement when stem cells taken from the nasal lining were implanted into the injured area.
The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge, who took cells from the olfactory lining of the dogs, and injected these into the injured spinal site. The nasal cells were found to help regenerate the nerves of the spine.
The researchers believe that because the nasal cells which are called the olfactory ensheathing cells, have a special ability to repair the nasal nerve fibers, they are able to do the same when they are injected into the spinal cord injury site. The researchers found that after a few weeks of the therapy, the paralyzed dogs were able to move their hind limbs.
It’s too early to tell how successful the same treatment will be when it is tried out on human beings. However, the researchers are very excited about the results because this is the first time that they have been able to prove that nasal cells are beneficial in helping regenerate damaged spinal nerves fibers.
According to statistics, in 2009, there were approximately 250,000 people in the US living with a spinal cord injury. About 13,000 new cases of spinal cord injury are reported every year. One of the most frequent causes of spinal cord injury is auto accidents. These account for a majority of the spinal cord injury cases in the United States, followed closely by fall accidents.
Victims of spinal cord injury have a much better prognosis than they used to, and there have been a lot of developments recently aimed at improving the quality of life for these people.