Reversing paralysis in mice

Scientists at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, have made paralysed mice walk again by stimulating healing in the spinal cord (video).

Spinal cord injuries in humans often result in irreversible paralysis, as nerve fibres are not repaired after the injury, meaning there is no communication between the brain and muscle fibres.

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers used gene therapy to encourage cells to produce a protein which stimulated nerve cell growth in the damaged muscle, and found that mice were able to walk again within 2-3 weeks.

The team will now look to test the same treatment in other larger animals, such as pigs or dogs, and ultimately see if this could be used to help patients with spinal injuries.

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