Paralyzed Dog Walks After Nose Cell Transplant To Spinal Cord [VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on November 22, 2012 6:42 PM EST

Jasper
Jasper rehabilitates after a cell transplant to his spinal cord (Photo: CNN video still via YouTube)

10-year-old dachshund Jasper was paralyzed from a spinal injury after he was run over by a car. According to a major announcement from the Medical Research Council, the poor pup has been given a groundbreaking cell transplant treatment made possible by incredible advances in modern medicine.

What exactly did this transplant do? Doctors found a way to reverse Jasper's paralysis by extracting cells grown from the lining of the doggy's nose and injecting it into its spine. According to research on olfactory ensheathing cells, the cells have an unique ability to support the growth of nerve fibers from the nose to the brain.

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Based on the olfactory ensheathing cells' ability, the Medical Research Council funded a program that treated 34 pet animals that suffered severe spinal cord injuries that caused paralysis of their hind legs. Many dogs that participated in the trial were dachshunds as spinal injuries are more common in this breed than others.

Researchers extracted a sample of these cells from the nose lining of each pet dog, then grew the specimen over several weeks until it was suitable for the transplant procedure. 23 dogs were given the transplant while the remainder 11 were injected with a neutral placebo as a control. Rehabilitation not only allowed the regeneration of nerve fibers but the dogs were even able to coordinate the movements of their hind legs with their front limbs.

Following Jasper's successful treatment, dog owner May Hay said, "Before the trial, Jasper was unable to walk at all. When we took him out we used a sling for his back legs so that he could exercise the front ones. It was heartbreaking. But now we can't stop him whizzing round the house and he can even keep up with the two other dogs we own. It's utterly magic."

Robin Franklin, Ph.D, of the University of Cambridge said, "Our findings are extremely exciting because they show for the first time that transplanting these types of cell into a severely damaged spinal cord can bring about significant improvement.

"We're confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries but that's a long way from saying they might be able to regain all lost function. It's more likely that this procedure might one day be used as part of a combination of treatments, alongside drug and physical therapies, for example."

An incredible development, the new development has the potential to dramatically change the lives of victims of car accidents, injured athletes, and older individuals suffering immobility.

Take a look at Jasper and the incredible cell transplant process in the video below:

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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