Researchers at Cambridge University have managed to treat paralysis in a group of dogs by injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose, a new study published in the neurology journal Brain reveals.
The study, funded by the Medical Research Council, involved extraction of olfactory ensheathing cells from the lining of the dogs' nose and were then grown over a period of several weeks. Around 34 dogs were used in the study, all of which had suffered from spinal injuries that prevented the use of their back legs. Around 23 dogs were then injected with the cell mixture while the remaining 11 dogs were injected with a neutral fluid.
The researchers found that they were able to partially treat the paralysis in majority of the dogs who were able to use their back legs with the help of a harness. Professor Robin Franklin, who worked on the study, said that their findings could pave way for development of similar treatments in humans.
"Our findings are extremely exciting because they show for the first time that transplanting these types of cell into a severely damaged spinal cord can bring about significant improvement. We're confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries but that's a long way from saying they might be able to regain all lost function", Profession Franklin said.