Monthly Archives: January 2011
Among stem cell biologists there are few better-known proteins than nestin, whose very presence in an immature cell identifies it as a “stem cell,” such as a neural stem cell. As helpful as this is to researchers, until now no one knew which purpose nestin serves in a cell.
In a study published in the Jan. 30, 2011, advance online edition of Nature Neuroscience, Salk Institute of Biological Studies investigators led by Kuo-Fen Lee, PhD., show that nestin has reason for being in a completely different cell type–muscle tissue. There, it regulates formation of the so-called neuromuscular junction, the contact point between muscle cells and “their” motor neurons.
Researchers say the anti-cancer drug Taxol, normally used to treat breast cancer, might also hold promise as a way to help people recover from crippling spinal cord injuries.
Researchers at Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany report that Taxol improves movement and function in rats with spine injuries, by promoting nerve regeneration. They say the drug appears to eliminate the physical obstacles that normally prevent injured nerve cells from regrowing axons.
Taxol stabilizes growing nerve cells and reduces the barrier-function of scar tissue
After a spinal cord injury a number of factors impede the regeneration of nerve cells. Two of the most important of these factors are the destabilization of the cytoskeleton and the development of scar tissue. While the former prevents regrowth of cells, the latter creates a barrier for severed nerve cells. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried and their colleagues from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and University of Miami in the United States, and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, have now shown that the cancer drug Taxol reduces both regeneration obstacles. Science, January 27, 2011
For Sherrod Nelson, the opportunity to play basketball again in a group setting with others has been rewarding. Nelson is one of the members of the Spinal Cord Injury Support Group who has endured a life-changing experience.
“This is a way of getting out of the house,” said Nelson, who participates on a wheelchair basketball team twice a week at the Village Multipurpose Center in Sunrise. “Most of us were very competitive when we were able-bodied, so this can fulfill some of our dreams again.”
To Nelson, something is always better than nothing.
(PhysOrg.com) — Stanford is now part of the first clinical trial of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. The trial will enroll up to 10 patients with spinal cord injuries nationwide.
The first clinical trial of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells began in October 2010 in a paralyzed patient at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. Today, Stanford University School of Medicine and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center became the third site to participate in the trial, which will enroll up to 10 patients with spinal cord injuries at up to seven institutions nationwide.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Darrell Gwynn Foundation auctioned two cars and made a wheelchair donation at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction on Friday, January 21. Proceeds from the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction totaled $490,000 which will primarily benefit the foundation’s Wheelchair Donation Program, but also the foundation’s Education & Prevention Program, Paralyzed Assistance Fund and Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week initiative. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s mission is to provide AWARENESS, PREVENTION, SUPPORT and ultimately a CURE for Paralysis.
Practically from the time he could walk, Darren Templeton of Kinnelon enjoyed playing sports: football, basketball, baseball, soccer. As a student in Kinnelon High School, he was a member of the hockey and tennis teams, and he was an avid skier.
While vacationing with his family near Manahawkin in July 2004 … a month after graduating from high school … he dove from his family’s boat. The tide was rapidly changing, and water that Templeton thought was deep proved to be too shallow. He broke his neck, leaving him a quadriplegic.
Some people might be excused for succumbing to despair or depression. But Templeton’s main emotion was frustration. Following the accident, he went through weeks of physical therapy that was beneficial but unsatisfying.
In episode 2 we get recommendations from the chair manufacturers. Gold Pictures and The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation are proud to present The Power Wheelchair Comparison Web Series.
The $1 million price tag for a trial injecting nose cells into spinal-injury patients would be better spent helping people live with their disabilities, some experts say.
However, those involved with the trial say the New Zealand study will have international significance and funding everyday needs is like pouring money into a “great bottomless pit”.
The Ministry of Health multi-region ethics committee gave consent this week for an experimental trial which will see cells from people’s noses injected into the site of their spinal injuries.
Twelve paraplegics, half of whom will have the operation, will be accepted for the trial. The remaining six in the control group will get intensive rehabilitation.
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Athersys, Inc. announced a joint scientific study on spinal cord injury will be published today in the January issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The study, by leading researchers from the Department of Neurosciences at the School of Medicine and scientists at Athersys, presents data supporting the potential therapeutic benefit of Athersys’ MultiStem program for spinal cord injury.