Paralysis due to spinal cord damage remains an irreparable condition. However, a new therapeutic approach may bring renewed hope for paralysis patients. The approach involves a ‘designer’ cytokine that stimulates the nerve cells to regenerate. The cytokine is called hyper-interleukin-6.
"This is a so-called designer cytokine, which means it doesn't occur like this in nature and has to be produced using genetic engineering," explains Dietmar Fischer.
"Thus, gene therapy treatment of only a few nerve cells stimulated the axonal regeneration of various nerve cells in the brain and several motor tracts in the spinal cord simultaneously," points out Dietmar Fischer. "Ultimately, this enabled the previously paralyzed animals that received this treatment to start walking after two to three weeks. This came as a great surprise to us at the beginning, as it had never been shown to be possible before after full paraplegia."
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"This aspect would be particularly relevant for application in humans," stresses Fischer. "We are now breaking new scientific ground. These further experiments will show, among other things, whether it will be possible to transfer these new approaches to humans in the future."
Source: Science Daily