(Reuters) – German researchers have been able to reintroduce running mice following spinal cord injuries, re-establishing neural links considered irreparable in mammals using a designer protein injected into the brain.
Spinal cord injuries in humans, often caused by sports or traffic accidents, are paralyzed because not all nerve fibers that carry information between the muscles and the brain are able to grow back.
But researchers at Ruhr University Bochum succeeded in stimulating the nerve cells of paralyzed mice to regenerate using a designer protein.
Dietmar Fisher, the head of the team, told Reuters in an interview, “The special thing about our study is that the protein is used not only to stimulate the nerve cells it produces on its own, but also to That it is also transported further (through the brain). “
“In this way, with a relatively small intervention, we stimulate a very large number of nerves to regenerate and that is ultimately the reason why mice can move again.”
He said paralyzed rodents started moving after two to three weeks.
The treatment involves the carrier of genetic information in the brain to produce a protein called hyper-interleukin-6, according to the university’s website.
The team is investigating whether treatment can be improved.
“We also have to see if our method works on large mammals. We would think of pigs, dogs or primates, for example, ”Fisher said.
“Then, if it works there, we have to make sure that medicine is safe for humans too. But it will definitely take many, many years. “
Reporting by Stephen Nishcheke and Zuzana Sijmenska; Editing by John Stonestreet