Experts Say Spinal Cord Trials on Humans Are within Sight
Scientists are ready to launch the first ground-breaking trials on humans to repair damaged spinal cords.
New research has revealed a significant breakthrough in nerve reconstruction which experts say could prove to be decisive in helping people who are paralysed regain the ability to walk.
The breakthrough came after tests on adult rats, conducted by a team of scientists based at the National Institute for Medical Research, confirmed that severed nerve fibres located in the spinal cord could be reunited with the brain.
They are now just two to three years away from conducting the first trials on humans and believe the techniques used during research could also help thousands paralysed by strokes.
During the research, the scientists discovered that nerve fibres regenerate in the area of the brain for sense and smell.
By taking the cells from the upper part of the nose and placing them in the damaged area of the spinal cord, they hope to aid the body's ability to reconnect the spinal cord to the brain.
Dr Geoffrey Raisman, who led the team of scientists to successfully restore the nerve functions in rats with partially-severed spinal cords, said: 'We have opened the door to a new era. …