A group of researchers from Tel Aviv University is seeking to end chronic paralysis through human spinal cord implants that have been inserted into animal models.
According to scientists, the tests have been positive, which could mark the first advance in this area.
The results were published in the journal Advanced Science, where it is indicated that the work has focused on the manufacture of functional tissues of human marrow with materials and cells that were implanted in laboratory models of chronic paralysis.
According to the authors, this allowed to restore the “ability to walk in 80 percent of the tests”, according to what was pointed out in a statement by Tel Aviv University.
“The model animals underwent a rapid rehabilitation, at the end of which they were able to walk quite well,” explains Tal Dvir, director of the research.
The technology used is based on taking a small biopsy of the adipose tissue from the patient’s belly together with an extracellular matrix.
The cells are then separated, genetically engineered to be reprogrammed and reconverted into something similar to embryonic stem cells, which would be “capable of becoming any type of cell in the body.”
From the extracellular matrix, the authors produce a customized hydrogel that does not provoke an immune response or rejection after application.
The researchers emphasize that the results have been “very encouraging” and that 100 percent of the acutely paralyzed mice and 80 percent of the chronically paralyzed mice regained the ability to walk.
“This is the first instance in the world in which implanted human tissues have generated recovery in an animal model for long-term chronic paralysis, which is the most relevant model for paralysis treatments in humans,” the authors note.