Nov 7, 2008 | 1
Scientists got nerve cells in mice to regenerate by knocking out genes that halt cell growth, a possible step toward treating brain and spinal cord injuries, according to new research.
Neurons in the central nervous system typically can't grow again once they've matured, and the pathway that regulates their development is silenced when those cells are injured. Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston shut off two genes that inhibit cell growth, then watched to see whether crushed optic nerves in the mice would survive.
Two weeks later, up to 45 percent of the injured neurons were still alive, compared with about 20 percent in the mice that didn’t receive the gene deletions, according to the report in this week's Science. About 8 to 10 percent of the surviving neurons regenerated, an effect seen up to four weeks after the mice were injured.
Oct 20, 2008 | 4
A clinical trial that would test the use of embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injury could begin within three months.
The Scientist is reporting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may lift its hold on a trial sponsored by California biotech Geron Corp. by early next year. In May, the agency ordered Geron to delay the trial while it studied how best to regulate stem-cell-based therapies.
The phase 1 trial would test whether it is safe to inject nerve cells into the site of a spinal cord injury. A study published in 2005 in the Journal of Neuroscience found that giving rats the injections seven days after a spinal cord injury improved their motor function.
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