Paralyzed Dogs Saved by Own Noses
Cell transplants may offer hope to humans
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Nov 19, 2012 8:37 AM CST
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(Newser) – A group of paralyzed dogs is walking again—with a little help from a harness—after scientists injected cells from the dogs' noses into the injured portion of their spinal cords. The procedure could eventually help paralyzed humans regain some degree of movement, researchers say, though they caution that such a feat is a long way off. In the experiment, scientists in Britain took olfactory ensheathing cells from the noses of dogs whose back legs were nonfunctional after injury. The olfactory system is the only site where adults continue to develop nerve fibers, the BBC notes.

After growing the removed cells in a lab, the scientists injected them into 23 pet dogs while injecting a neutral control substance into 11 others. The latter group saw no improvement, but many of the 23 transplant dogs were able to walk again, aided by a harness on a treadmill. "We're confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries," says a researcher. "But that's a long way from saying they might be able to regain all lost function."

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Riffran
Nov 19, 2012 2:23 PM CST
So Mr Jones, I see your'e walking now congrats! Any side effects? "Yeah I found out my ass stinks" All kidding aside...I really hope this translates into successful human results. It could potentially even work on cases like spina bifida, in addition to para or quadraplegia ..nice stuff
JoeQ
Nov 19, 2012 1:55 PM CST
Too late for poor old Christopher Reeve.
DalaiLama
Nov 19, 2012 9:59 AM CST
Great for these dogs and the possible future potential, but I have to vent a bit here. The whole "control group" thing for illnesses where spontaneous recovery is almost non-existent is scientific stupidity. It's even worse in human drug trials monitored by the FDA. Take a cancer for which life-expectancy is virtually zero one year out. In trials for new treatments, these pricks at the FDA still require a control group even though that means a death sentence for those participants. I just don't know how people can become so callous they value process over life.