Scientists developed a new injectable therapy that uses ‘dancing molecules’ reverses paralysis and repairs tissue after serious spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injuries are one of the most devastating injuries that lead to a complete paralysis or walking difficulties which could be permanent. A group of scientists from Northwestern University developed a new therapy that injects a gel consisting ‘dancing molecules’, and after a single dose of this injection, paralyzed mice started walking again in four weeks.
A simple movement can be disrupted or made difficult when the neurons in the spine transmitting signals between muscles and brain are damaged. Moreover, the limited capacity of the central nervous system to restore itself makes the condition worse, often making the paralysis permanent. This new approach developed by the team repaired this damage in five ways when tested in mice. It rejuvenated axons, drastically decreased the formation of scar tissues, it refilled the insulating layer of myelin surrounding the axons, boosted blood vessels’ production, and it increased the amount of motor neurons that lived through the injury.
Furthermore, the mice were administered with a single dose of a liquid that consisted two modified peptides. The results of the tests were significantly promising as the paralyzed mice started walking in just four weeks after the dose. These peptides created cascading signals that repaired the spinals cord, where one peptide created a signal regenerating axons, and the second one reduced scarring and boosted the regrowth of myelin and blood vessels, making the therapy efficient. The team claims that this new approach could be used in the beginning for the prevention of paralysis in patients after major trauma such as traffic accidents or sports injuries. According to the team, this therapy could also be used for treatment of other diseases.