A group of biologists from Northwestern University in the United States have developed a method for treating paralysis and injuries to the nervous system. It has already proven its effectiveness in an experiment on mice. Scientists hope that the new method will help not only paralyzed people, but also patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Details were published in the journal Science.
The experimental mice were injected with a “scaffold” – a protein framework consisting of two peptide sequences. Peptides, in turn, are responsible for the bioregulation of sleep, appetite, immune system and other processes. Once in the body, the substance forms a network of nanofibers, similar in structure to the tissue around the spine. After that, the molecules in the drug bind to the cellular receptors.
Paralysis occurs as a result of spinal cord injury or damage to the nervous system. The main difficulty in its treatment is that neither the spinal cord nor the brain can repair itself.
By connecting to cellular receptors, the molecules send two signals that trigger the process of self-regeneration. One of them goes through axons, which conduct nerve impulses from the cell to the brain. It is he who gives the command to the cells to heal. The second signal leads to active cell division. Thanks to this, blood vessels are restored, which are especially necessary for tissue regeneration.
Soon scientists plan to start research with human participation. According to biologists, a new type of therapy will be able to help not only paralyzed people, but also those who have been diagnosed with a brain injury resulting from a stroke. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s can also be cured, scientists say.