Scientists at the University of Michigan are on a breakthrough, discovering an injection that could prevent paralysis for those faced with spinal cord injuries.
The solution comes in the form of an ‘EpiPen’, not your traditional EpiPen as used for cases of Anaphylaxis, but one that is specifically designed for trauma within the central nervous system. The scientists at the forefront aim to inject nanoparticles within areas of trauma to illicit a therapeutic response instead of the normal overreaction that the body’s immune system undergoes.
This process has successfully been tested and proven to work on mice, the response was one that allowed for the aggressive immune cells that lead to paralysis to be reprogrammed and immediately begin the regenerative process.
Traditionally when an injury occurs in the central nervous system, the barrier between the blood and the brain is destroyed, resulting in a rapid death of neurons as overzealous immune cells create excessive inflammation for the neural tissue within that area. The death of these neurons damages the insulating sheaths surrounding nerve fibres that send signals throughout our bodies, a scar is then formed that blocks any regeneration of the nerve cells within the spinal cord. Resulting in loss of function or paralysis in any areas below the injury.
With the ‘EpiPen’, researchers have directed the nanoparticles that capture immune cells heading to the spinal cord and directed them away from the injury, in turn stopping the process that eventually results in paralysis of the body.
Their hope is that this new development will lead to new forms of therapeutic strategies for both patients of spinal cord injuries but also extensive to those who suffer from different types of inflammatory diseases.
An added bonus to this type of remedy is that because there are no drugs associated, the likelihood of unwanted side effects is avoided.
This development brings a much-needed spark of relief towards those who once thought that help may be forever out of their reach.