Winning by a nose: promising news for spinal cord injury patients

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University have identified a new anti-tumor gene called SARI that can interact with and suppress a key protein that is overexpressed in 90 percent of human cancers. The discovery could one day lead to an effective gene therapy for cancer. According to Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., professor and chair of

Full Post: New anti-tumor gene called SARI

Cells from the human nose are showing further promise in remediating spinal cord injury, according to research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Six weeks after injecting cells from the human nose (olfactory ensheathing glia) into the injured spinal cords of rats, the researchers found improvements in the animals’ movement.

“We found improvements in hind limb function of these animals,” said Dr Catherine Gorrie, from the Neural Injury Research Unit at UNSW. “They performed significantly better on locomotive tasks than those who didn’t have the injections.”

This is the first time that cells from the human nose have been used on rats with such injuries, which is an important step towards future clinical trials in humans.

The work has just been presented at the Society for Neuroscience Conference in Washington, DC.

Spinal cord injury affects about 12,000 Australians and there are 300-400 new cases each year, according to StepAhead Australia.

“One of the real positives about using these cells is that they are very accessible,” said Dr Gorrie, who is based in the School of Medical Sciences. “It’s a relatively simple procedure to take them from the patient and grow more of them and then insert them back into the same person. This reduces the risk of rejection.”

Olfactory ensheathing glia are a special type of cell that normally help to guide new nerve fibres from the lining of the nose into the brain throughout life. These cells have unique properties that may be used to guide new spinal cord nerve fibres after injury.

Previous work from the Neural Injury Research Unit shows that a delayed transplantation of cells is more effective than injections given at the time of injury. In this case, the animals were given the cells a week after the injury.

“We think these cells have a lot of potential,” said Dr Gorrie. “What we want to do now is determine what makes these cells effective.”

The National Adult Stem Cell Research Centre, Griffith University (QLD) was a collaborator, preparing the cells for the project.


According to Australian scientists help for spine injury victims could be just a sniff away - researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney say stem cells taken from the nose could help spinal injury victims regain movement. The team have conducted tests on paralysed rats which found they were able to

Full Post: Help for spine injury victims could be just a sniff away

Neuralstem, Inc. announced this morning that it has filed an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin a clinical trial to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). The Company is planning to treat ALS patients through spinal injections of its stem cells via its

Full Post: Neuralstem files IND for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis stem cell trial

Neuralstem, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a collaboration with Professor Guido Nikkah Ph.D, of Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg, Germany, to advance development of Neuralstem’s human neural stem cell therapies. The collaboration with Professor Nikkah will focus on Huntington’s disease. “We are pleased to have established this collaboration in Germany” said Richard Garr, Neuralstem President

Full Post: Neuralstem enters stem cell collaboration for Huntington’s disease in Germany

A study published in the current issue of Cell Transplantation (Vol.17, No. suggests that mature adipocytes - fat cells - could become a source for cell replacement therapy to treat central nervous system disorders. According to the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Yuki Ohta of the Institute of Medical Science, St. Mariana University School of

Full Post: Transplanted fat cells restore function after spinal cord injury

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have identified a novel mechanism in the regulation and differentiation of neural stem cells. Researchers found that the protein receptor Ryk has a key role in the differentiation of neural stem cells, and demonstrated a signaling mechanism that regulates neuronal differentiation as stem cells begin to grow

Full Post: Discovery of mechanism that regulates the development of stem cells into neurons