Is science about to revolutionize treatment for spinal cord injuries? Researchers in San Diego may have figured out a way to do what was previously thought impossible, and train the nerves to regenerate themselves properly.
Scientists at UC San Diego have proven that if they combine the use of a biological chemical called neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) with a "cell bridge" on the area of injury and stimulating the body's regenerative genes, severed spinal cord nerves will regenerate. This doesn't mean that the injury would be completely healed, as the scientists still need to work out how to create functioning nerve connections, as UC San Diego's Centre for Neural Repair director, Professor Mark Tuszynski, explains:
While our findings are very encouraging... they also highlight the complexity of restoring function in the injured spinal cord.
If only someone had thought to explain that to DC Comics in the mid-90s...
Progress in treatment of spine injuries [Independent.co.uk]