Spinal cord regeneration success in mice
"Until now, such robust nerve regeneration has been impossible in the spinal cord"
- Professor Oswald Steward, Researcher
US researchers have for the first time encouraged substantial regrowth in nerves controlling voluntary movement after spinal cord injury.
By manipulating an enzyme involved in cell growth, researchers were able to regenerate spinal cord nerves in mice, Nature Neuroscience reports.
It follows similar work on repairing the optic nerve to restore sight.
UK experts said the next challenge would be to turn the findings into a treatment suitable for humans.
The ability to grow new nerve cells is present at birth but then diminishes with age.
It means that after injury or illness to the spine such cells, known as axons, cannot regenerate.