Publication date: May 12, 2020
A team of scientists has recently published their findings on how our bodies are able to repair brain and spinal cord injuries. Repairing nervous system damage – the holy grail of medical scienceIt has long been the ambition of many scientists to find ways to help repair damage to the brain and spinal cord. One of the ways we can repair damage to the nervous system is by using a type of stem cell that can readily become a brain cell. Scientists are able to graft NPCs onto the areas of the nervous system which are damaged, in a similar way to how we transplant tissues and organs. Once grafted on, the NPCs help the other cells grow and reconnect with each other, restoring function to the damaged area of the nervous system. Modern tools helping to answer age-old questionsProfessor Mark Tuszynski and colleagues are interested in researching exactly how NPC grafts can help repair brain and spinal cord damage. Scientists in the team hypothesise that reverting to an immature or embryonic state helped the injured cells to regrow and promoted repair of damage. In fact, when the scientists looked at nerve damage in mouse models which had huntingtin deleted from the spine, recovery from spinal cord injury was reduced by 60% – a huge effect!