Scientists developed a gel that assists in nerve regeneration to help mice walk again. Other remedies for paralysis use stem cells, genes, or proteins and have controversial views for safety and effectiveness. This gel could be used to speed up the recovery times of people with similar impairments.
The gel has proteins that come together to form long chains called supramolecular fibrils in a water solution. Once injected, the solution creates a gel that improves blood vessel growth and produces nutrients at the injury site. The gel successfully repaired spinal injuries in about 40 mice that allowed them to walk within four weeks.
“The extent of functional recovery and solid biological evidence of repair we observed using a model that emulates severe human injury makes the therapy superior to other approaches,” says creator Samuel Stupp of Northwestern University.
Advancements in alternative medical solutions give the public a chance to overcome impairments with a greater chance of success and safety.