Exciting news from Cambridge University where doctors have reversed damage from spinal injuries in dogs. Researchers are hopeful that down the road, spinal nerve damage in humans can be repaired with this same method, by using self-regenerating cells harvested from the nose.
Olfactory Ensheathing Cells
Stem cell research has similarly shown promise in this field, but these are not stem cells. The unique cells harvested in this study are what are known as olfactory ensheathing cells. These olfactory ensheathing cells are present in mammals and are responsible for detecting smells and transmitting signals to the brain for interpretation. These cells are unique in that they are the only place in adults where nerve fibers are continuously growing is the back of the nose.
For the first time ever, scientists have used these olfactory ensheathing cells from adult dogs to treat real world injuries, in this case, spinal cord injuries. Dogs that had lost the power to use their legs were able to walk on treadmills under their own power after treatment with a solution containing these magical cells, as you can see below.
The study noted, “We conclude that intraspinal olfactory mucosal cell transplantation improves communication across the damaged region of the injured spinal cord, even in chronically injured individuals.”
While this type of research has shown promise in the past, this is the first instance of real world testing and the findings are incredibly encouraging. While motor function was not completely restored, its certainly a milestone in spinal damage research.
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