>> This rat was virtually paralyzed, with a completely severed spinal cord. But just weeks later, pioneering Israeli research got the rodent walking again. Using human stem cells, the team at the Israel Institute of Technology, built a sort of scaffold to bridge spinal cord injuries, allowing instructions from the brain to reach the rest of the body.
>> We managed to induce spinal cord regeneration for an complete injury to the spinal cord. And this was really amazing to see the animal starting to walk after two, three weeks, they started to walk almost as normal, and we're really very excited to see this.>> Every day more than a quarter of a million people worldwide suffer spinal cord injury, with virtually no hope of a cure.
While the researchers acknowledge older injuries might not show such positive results, 40% of the rats treated here immediately after their injury regained movement and sensory perception. Previous studies have showed similar results. In 2012, paralyzed rats were made to walk involuntarily by Swiss researchers that electrically stimulated parts of the spinal cord, the team announced similar results with monkeys last year.
Clinical trials on humans for the Israeli study remain a long way off, but the researchers hope treatments like these could become standard to anything operating theater.>> Our vision is that in the surgery will be frozen cells that once patients come after full disectional of the spinal cord.
These cells could be transplanted into the lesion site and hopefully, to recover the patient.