Thursday, February 8, 2024

In Mice, Gene Therapy Helps Restore Movement After A Spinal Cord Injury

 Dennis Thompson from Health Day News reported that gene therapy helps the mice restore movement after a spinal cord injury. Mice tend to experience paralysis caused by spinal cord injury, so scientists used a virus to smuggle the genetic formula of the designer gene into the nerve cells of the mice's motor cortex to be able to walk again. The nerve cell absorbs the DNA formula of the designer protein into its own genetic material to begin producing the protein that will boost the growth of the nerve cell. The researchers found that the nerve fibers can be regenerated across anatomically complete spinal cord injuries; however, the nerve fibers that were found were not enough to restore motor function. They developed a multi-pronged gene therapy that activated the growth of identified neurons in mice to regenerate their fibers, promoted specific proteins to support the neurons' growth through the scar tissue, and used the molecules to attract the regenerating nerve fibers to their natural targets to fix the injury.

I thought the article was interesting because it showcased a variety of research and procedures that were done to be able to determine the right treatment for the mice's case in restoring their movement after the injury. When the researchers successfully restored mobility in mice with several spinal cords through gene therapy, it proved that the therapy was accurate and credible. Also, the article was insightful in elaborating on the impacts of the genetic treatment, especially when the reporter elaborated on how the mice regained walking patterns similar to those of mice that resumed walking naturally after only partial cord injuries with the use of gene therapy techniques and how the therapy was used to repair the spinal cord tissue and direct the repairs that would restore mobility in mice. 

                               Optogenetic technology for the treatment of spinal cord injury. (A) A... |  Download Scientific Diagram


1 comment:

  1. This is fascinating! I do not know much about gene therapy, but could something like this be replicated in humans, to aid in physical therapy or otherwise? I do not know the implications or ethical issues potentially faced if this was to be replicated in humans, but still, a cool concept nonetheless.