Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is It - Cure Through Gel

Research led by a scientist at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center has shown injecting biomaterial gel into a spinal cord injury site provides significantly improved healing. The project that also included researchers from Purdue University and Arizona State University indicates that a "practical path" to treatment may be found for spinal injury patients.

The research led by the Mark Preul, MD of Barrow and Alyssa Panitch, PhD of Purdue was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. Their study found that injection of an engineered hydrogel made up mainly of hyaluronic acid (a naturally-occurring body substance) into the spinal cord injury site decreases scarring and promotes a realignment of the spinal cord fibers around the injury site.
The hyaluronic acid which forms a scaffold-like configuration may help to structurally stabilize the spinal cord injury site. Tracing of cells in the brain stem after injury showed much higher levels in the hydrogel treated animals compared to animals which did not receive the treatment, and approached nearly normal levels. Treated animals had higher functional scores than non-treated animals.

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