Repairing spinal cord
1991/01/01 Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria
Scientists from Zürich have managed to overcome an obstacle to cure damaged spinal cord nerve fibers.
Through the nerve fibers located in the spinal cord, communication between the brain and other parts of the body is performed. These fibers, in case of accident or cut, hardly grow. Small extensions of a maximum millimeter are obtained by the end of the cut nerve fiber. Then, without knowing why, they do not grow more and if the distance between the medullary fibers exceeds the millimeter, it is not possible to repair the damage.
Professor Martin Schwab, professor at the Neurological Research Institute of Zürich and his team have analysed the chemicals present in the pouch that surrounds the spinal cord of rats. In it two proteins have been identified that appear to prevent the stretching of nerve fibers. After isolating these proteins, the researchers have injected them to the xaguas to create specific antibodies against these proteins. These antibodies have been obtained and repelled to mutilated rats, obtaining surprising results. The nerve fibers have elongated ten times faster than normal and have elongated more than one centimeter.
It is still a little bit to apply these techniques to people, but within a few years it will not surprise to see the disabled in wheelchair on foot.