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Scientists have found a surprising new way to cure paralysis in dogs that have suffered a spinal injury, preventing them from using their back legs – with cells from the inside of their noses!
The study, by a Cambridge University research team, used 34 pets for their study, with 23 of those dogs injected with olfactory ensheathing cells from the lining of their nose, directly into the injury site. The remaining dogs were given a placebo.
In the video below, Jasper, a Dachshund that had been previously unable to use his back legs, begins to walk after only a few weeks of treatment with these special cells inside the dog’s nose.
Several pets injected with their olfactory cells regained the use of their back legs, while none of the placebo-group did.
From BBC News,
…researchers say the transplanted cells regenerated nerve fibres across the damaged region of the spinal cord. This enabled the dogs to regain the use of their back legs and coordinate movement with their front limbs.
The research team are optimistic that this treatment could eventually help humans with spinal cord injuries, too.
Prof Geoffrey Raisman, chair of Neural Regeneration at University College London, who discovered olfactory ensheathing cells in 1985 said: “This is not a cure for spinal cord injury in humans – that could still be a long way off. But this is the most encouraging advance for some years and is a significant step on the road towards it.”