Repairing spinal cord injury with manipulated neural stem cells

August 16, 2010

One of the most common causes of disability in young adults is spinal cord injury. Currently, there is no proven reparative treatment. Hope that neural stem cells (NSCs) might be of benefit to individuals with severe spinal cord injury has now been provided by the work of a team of researchers, led by Kinichi Nakashima, at Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, in a mouse model of this devastating condition.

In the study, mice with severe injury were transplanted with NSCs and administered a drug known as valproic acid, which is used in the treatment of epilepsy. The valproic acid promoted the transplanted NSCs to generate , rather than other brain cell types, and the combination therapy resulted in impressive restoration of hind limb function. The authors hope that this approach, whereby the fate of transplanted NSCs is manipulated, for example by administration of valproic acid, could be developed as an effective treatment for severe spinal cord injury.

In an accompanying commentary, Tamir Ben-Hur, at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical School, Israel, highlights the impressive functional recovery attained using this approach but cautions that further work is needed before it can be determined whether this approach will work in human patients.

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1 / 5 (1) Aug 16, 2010
"Further work" is always going to be needed, as evidenced by cancer research, a multibillion-dollar industry that is certainly in no hurry to get off their own heavily funded gravy train. Most of the "further work" will involve extensive research into areas peripheral to the actual goal assumed by readers, which is a real remedy for spinal cord injury. I saw that kind of activity myself when I worked in a "cancer research" lab. I have to assume there was no funding available for actual cures - only for peripheral research. Why get off the gravy train when it is just starting to get underway?
not rated yet Aug 16, 2010
I agree lariAnn, business only exists to make money, this is why think business should stay out of medice.That goes for insurance companies as well.
not rated yet Aug 17, 2010
I agree lariAnn, business only exists to make money, this is why think business should stay out of medice.That goes for insurance companies as well.

your comment has absolutely nothing to do with the article itself.. of course "further work" is needed, we have only just BEGUN to probe the workings of stem cell research and its clinical and PRACTICAL applications.
not rated yet Aug 18, 2010
I disagree... it was a response to the comment above.. She was saying that this research is promising, but it will be distorted into a way to make money and maximize profit rather than curing people. This inevitably leads to the desire to "treat" rather than cure people. Cures hurt the overinflated profits pharmaceuticals. You want to progress medicine technology to help people then the primary goal cannot be profit; if it is, then your decisions will be based on profit not medicine.

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