Data indicates that there are approximately 17, 000 new spinal injury cases per year. Though experienced in varying degrees, these injuries typically result in at least some form of paralysis, which is often permanent. Scientists have been working hard to come up with a solution – some using drugs, others specific therapies, and still others who are using surgical interventions. One recent scientific study, which included the grafting of human stem cells into rhesus monkeys, is showing promise – so much so that the entire scientific community is abuzz.
Stem Cell Graft Improves Grasping in Monkeys
A team of neuroscientists and surgeons, which were led by University of California San Diego School of Medicine, grafted neural progenitor cells (NPCs) into the spines of rhesus monkeys as a follow-up to former studies with rodents. Though complications did arise – specifically in regard to technique – the scientists and surgeons found workarounds and managed to successfully grow hundreds of thousands of human axons and synapses in the monkeys. As a result, the monkeys experienced an increase in forelimb function, specifically the ability to grasp. Published in an online issue of Nature Medicine, the study findings indicate a significant step in translating positive results in humans with spinal cord injuries.
Waiting on Human Trials
Although the results show promise, scientists predict that it will still be a while before human trials on the technique can begin. Part of that could have to do with the complications that they experienced, such as having trouble with figuring out how to get the grafts to attach successfully. Scar tissue in the spine is like any other scar tissue; it will never be the same again, and there is usually a lack of neurotrophins and other growth-promoting factors. Thanks to the study with the monkeys, they have more insight on how to work around this issue. However, as they make their way toward testing on humans, more issues (and the need for potential workarounds) will likely occur. It is also important to note that the increase of mobility was small – as is expected in such a short study, and researchers may want to wait to see if there is more improvement over time.
Are You Owed Compensation? Contact Our Appleton Spinal Injury Lawyers for a Consult
If you or a loved one has experienced a spinal injury, and the injury was someone else’s fault, contact Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. Our seasoned Appleton spinal injury lawyers can examine your case to determine if you may be owed compensation. Whatever the situation, we will be by your side, aggressively pursuing the most favorable outcome possible. Call 920-739-7366 to schedule your complimentary consultation with us today.