Gene therapy could restore hand function after spinal cord injury
Facebook Twitter google+ RSS Feed

Gene therapy could restore hand function after spinal cord injury

Monday, 18 June 2018, 05:04 Hrs
40
cmt right
51
Comment Right
48
cmt right
13
cmt right
Printer Print Email Email


spinal cordResearchers have tested a new gene therapy that has shown potential to help people with spinal cord injuries to re-learn skilled hand movements.



People with spinal cord injury often lose the ability to perform everyday actions that require coordinated hand movements such as writing, holding a toothbrush or picking up a drink.



In the study published in the journal Brain, the researchers tested the new gene therapy on rats for regenerating damaged tissue in the spinal cord that could be switched on and off using a common antibiotic.



"What is exciting about our approach is that we can precisely control how long the therapy is delivered by using a gene 'switch'. This means we can hone in on the optimal amount of time needed for recovery," said Elizabeth Bradbury, Professor at King's College London.



"Gene therapy provides a way of treating large areas of the spinal cord with only one injection, and with the switch, we can now turn the gene off when it is no longer needed," she added.



After a traumatic spinal injury, dense scar tissue forms which prevents new connections being made between nerve cells. 



The gene therapy causes cells to produce an enzyme called chondroitinase which can break down the scar tissue and allow networks of nerve cells to regenerate.



The researchers gave the gene therapy to rats with spinal injuries that closely mimicked the kind of human spinal injuries that occur after traumatic impacts such as car crashes or falls.



"We found that when the gene therapy was switched on for two months the rats were able to accurately reach and grasp sugar pellets," explained Emily Burnside from King's College London.



"We also found a dramatic increase in activity in the spinal cord of the rats, suggesting that new connections had been made in the networks of nerve cells," she noted.



However, the researchers had to overcome a problem with the immune system recognizing and removing the gene switch mechanism. 



To get around this, they added a "stealth gene" which hides the gene switch from the immune system.



The gene therapy is not yet ready for human trials, the researchers said.



Read more news:



Move closer to God for better sleep quality



Young diabetics more at risk of Parkinson's: Study


Source: IANS
Experts on SiliconIndia
Santhosh  K
Sr. Soft. Engg.
Oracle India
Nehal Vyas
Sr. Team Lead
Cyberoam Tech.
Rani Malli
Sr. Director
Philips
Sr. Executive
ISB
Vijay Balkrishna Konduskar
Business Consultant
Imans Web Tech
Dr L P  Sharma
Technical Director
NIC
Reena Khanna
Founder
Solitaireworld
Dellas  Asse
sys-network admin
Computer Station
Write your comment now
Submit Reset
SPOTLIGHT