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The latest news and information about what's going on with SCI science and research. Brought to you by Sam Maddox, author of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Guide.

Most Recent Research News Blog Posts

Chinese scientists report that they fixed a completely cut spinal cord in lab animals. That is the gist of a spinal cord injury regeneration research publication in the open-access journal PLOS-One that caught my attention this week. “ Tissue-Engineered Regeneration of Completely Transected Spinal Cord Using Induced Neural Stem Cells and ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Mar 31, 2015 7:24 PM EDT
Using a drug already approved for treating cancer, a group from Germany was able to stimulate damaged spinal cord nerve fibers to reboot their growth. What’s more, the drug also reduced the formation of scar at the injury site, leading to regeneration and functional recovery. The Frank Bradke lab at German Center for Neurodegenerative ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Mar 17, 2015 8:38 PM EDT
Stem cells have been in the news pretty much nonstop since the turn of the century. In the spinal cord injury realm, the stem cell story resonates in the imagination, in the labs, and now in clinical trials. Presently there are two stem cell clinical trials enrolling chronic spinal cord injury patients in the U.S., with a third trial (not chronic) due to ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Mar 3, 2015 1:02 AM EST
The Italian head transplant has come back into the news; the same story surfaced two years ago as HEAVEN , the Head Anastomosis Venture. It didn’t get so much traction, but here it is again, I suppose because Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero has laid out a timeline, and a vision. Within two years, he says, some head will get a new body.   Canavero says ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Feb 27, 2015 1:18 PM EST
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation campaign, The Big Idea , announced last fall, is raising money to enroll 36 spinal cord injury patients in a clinical trial to prove in meaningful terms that epidural spinal cord stimulation is a valid therapy leading to significant improvement of cardiovascular, respiratory, bladder, bowel and sexual ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jan 31, 2015 10:32 PM EST
Martyn Goulding and his group at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., published a very cool paper this week in the journal Cell describing how the spinal cord acts as a “mini-brain” to help mammals attain motor control and balance. In other words, they posit that smart spinal cord circuitry, and not solely the direct input of the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jan 31, 2015 2:17 AM EST
Welcome to the new year. Here’s to the highest of hopes for 2015. It cannot be denied, 2014 was a banner year for research to improve function after chronic spinal cord injury. Clinical trials began in the U.S. with two separate stem cell lines, and with an implanted scaffold. Another stem cell trial, halted four years ago, will reboot soon. Spinal ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 31, 2014 11:25 PM EST
A 52-patient Phase II clinical trial to measure the effect of neural stem cells in chronic cervical spinal cord injury began last week at the Miami Project. The trial, dubbed the Pathway Study, is sponsored by California-based StemCells, Inc., and is an expansion of a safety study of 12 patients with thoracic injuries; that work was done mainly in ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 20, 2014 5:33 PM EST
A very neat experiment was reported earlier this month showing that a new kind of drug, injected under the skin early after injury, can improve functional recovery of paralyzed animals. The work, published in the leading journal Nature , comes from the Jerry Silver group at Case Western in Cleveland, and continues the lab’s long-term focus on ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 15, 2014 6:04 PM EST
The Society for Neuroscience (SFN) annual meeting recently concluded its gigantic week-long data drop. This meeting is something to behold; Washington D.C., overrun with neurogeeks, hosted the world’s largest gathering of scientists who work on brain and spinal cord research, 30,000 strong from more than 80 countries. They gather to share ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Nov 30, 2014 2:23 PM EST
Regarding the big story this week from Poland .... blazed across the front page of the Times in London, Paralyzed Man Walks Again. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spinal cord injury cure story taken for such a spectacular spin.   First, let’s hear it for Darek Fidyka, the man who got the stab wound who got his nose cells and nerve grafts put ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Oct 24, 2014 8:25 PM EDT
I came across a paper a couple of weeks ago, from the lab of Angelo Lepore, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College. First author is Aditi Falnikar. The lab concentrates on astrocytes, glutamate and spinal cord injury.   Astrocytes are nervous system support cells. Everybody knows that. But did you know ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Oct 21, 2014 3:38 PM EDT
A research paper was published by the UCLA-based Reggie Edgerton lab this week with what the authors describe as “substantial” clinical relevance for people living with spinal cord injury. The work, titled “Initiation of Bladder Voiding with Epidural Stimulation in Paralyzed, Step Trained Rats,” appeared in the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Oct 17, 2014 4:36 PM EDT
Grégoire Courtine and his team at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPVL) published a cool paper last week, taking the concept of epidural stimulation and spinal cord activation to new territory. They already showed that they could get paralyzed rats to walk and run well on a treadmill, and even over ground and up ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Sep 30, 2014 10:40 PM EDT
They’re back! If this were a sequel we could call it "OPC 2". How about “The Little Cells that Could?” “The Embryo Strikes Back?” I love this story. It may or may not be a great science story but it’s a cool bit of business dramaturgy. The OPC cells, the famous line of embryo-derived stem cells from the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 31, 2014 6:40 PM EDT
Skin cells from an 86-year old man were genetically reverse-programed to a more primitive state and then transplanted into a rodent model of spinal cord injury. The cells flourished and grew to an astonishing degree from the C5 injury up and down the spinal cord, and even into the brain. That’s what we learn from a really interesting paper that ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 27, 2014 12:11 AM EDT
A team at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, backed by the young biotech company Neuralstem, recently launched a clinical trial to assess the safety of neural stem cell transplants in patients one to two years post spinal cord injury. The Phase I clinical trial is recruiting four patients. UCSD began recruiting August 11. Here ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 22, 2014 12:33 PM EDT
The headline tells the story: “AAVshRNA-Mediated Suppression of PTEN in Adult Rats in Combination with Salmon Fibrin Administration Enables Regenerative Growth of Corticospinal Axons and Enhances Recovery of Voluntary Motor Function after Cervical Spinal Cord Injury.” The above paper was published in the Journal of Neuroscience ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 31, 2014 8:39 PM EDT
Eight years after leaving Carlos Lima’s clinic in Portugal, having paid him to take tissue from her nose and transplant it into her spinal cord, a young Iowa woman developed pain at the implant site. Turns out a tumor-like growth had formed on her cord. Surgeons in Iowa City removed a one-inch growth, described elsewhere as “mainly nasal ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 22, 2014 12:47 PM EDT
This blog is based on a stroke study. Don’t leave. The lessons are important and apply to any and all traumas to the central nervous system (CNS), including spinal cord injury. Therapy plus training, plus the right timing, can equal recovery. A paper was published a couple of weeks ago from the Martin Schwab lab at the Brain Research Institute in ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 7, 2014 12:51 PM EDT

Most Recent Comments

As predicted, Asterias announced March 5 that it had begun enrollment for its embryonic stem cell based trial, form...
How is the polyethylene glycol used in neurosurgery different than polyethylene glycol in Miralax?
have they already picked there 36 volunteers? i know a young man rotting away in anursing facility because he has no h...
Sam, Please follow up on this from The Telegraph, U.K., 08 Jan. 2015 by Sarah Knapton, science editor: 'Cyborg' spin...
Many thanks for the good quality of information about SCI which is available in the community.

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