Four men are “wheeling” across Canada with the use of hand cycles in order to bring awareness and generate donations to research for conditions such as concussive head injuryand Alzheimer’s. They believe that a donation of 30 cents by each Canadian citizen for “breakthrough” research will allow them to walk again.
This research comes from a Canadian research team at McMaster University in Hamilton. Dr. Michel Rathbone and Dr. Shucui Jiang successfully regenerated nerves in the chronically damaged spinal cords of rats with the use of adult enteric glia cells. These cells are abundant in human and animal intestines and have been found to support the nervous system.
The enteric glia cells were grown in cell cultures and then transplanted into the rat’s spinal cords where they stimulated nerves to grow, reducing the damage in the spinal cord. These cells are not only stable, they have bypassed the problem of tissue rejection by the host. In addition, this team of scientists found that a naturally occurring molecule in the body, guanosine, stimulates stem cells already present in the spinal cord to grow and develop into cells that insulate the nerve processes.
Even more interesting, this medical approach and application can be used on other diseases as well, including those of the brain.
To progress beyond animal testing, the researchers need support. You don’t have to be Canadian to pitch it – visit Wheel to Walk for more information!