GENETICS: Hope for spine injury treatment
Thursday 30 January 1997
The finding is significant because axons, unlike other body cells, do not spontaneously regenerate after injury. This is why cranial or spinal injuries - such as that suffered by the actor Christopher Reeve - are almost always permanent.
Future treatments might use gene therapy, attaching a human form of the bcl-2 gene to affected nerves, or supplying the protein it makes to affected sites. The researchers, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Glaxo Institute in Geneva, say their finding "provides a basis for the design of new therapeutic strategies for treatment of brain and spinal injuries, as well as many neurodegenerative diseases".
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