Israeli scientists successfully implanted lab-made spinal cords in rodents with long-term paralysis, human trials planned
In a world first, Israeli scientists had enabled 12 paralyzed mice to move again after implanting new cord tissue from human cells into the animals. They hope to start clinical trials on humans within three years, according to a report issued on Monday.
The team published their research on Monday in the journal Advanced Science. The world-first experiment took place at Tel Aviv University.
"If this works in humans, and we believe that it will, it can offer all paralyzed people hope that they may walk again," Professor Tal Dvir and his research team at the Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology told The Times of Israel on Monday.
Dvir said that discussions concerning clinical trials have commenced with the US Food and Drug Administration.
He noted that while the mice had received spinal implants created from the cells of three humans, if the technology is used on people, a unique spine would be grown using cells from the patient's own body.
Dvir said this would reduce the chance of the body rejecting the implants. In the case of many transplants from human to human, the body's immune system has to be suppressed to lower the risk of rejection.
The scientists claim that, while other teams have conducted experiments producing human-based stem cells and injecting them into animal spinal cords, the Israeli study is the first to develop pieces of actual spine engineered from human cells and transplant them.
Millions of people around the world have been paralyzed due to spinal injury and, to date, there remains no effective way of treating their condition.