If you are a DC comic fan, then you must have seen in the series of 'Arrow' that the one character called Felicity Smoak became paralysed after a bullet hit her spinal cord. But, she again started to walk just like a normal human being with the help of new technology, a chip, fixed to her spinal cord that helped him to get up from the wheelchair. Believe it or not, in reality also a group of scientists have claimed that they have found a new treatment which will help such paralysed patients.
Scientists from Boston Children's Hospital and Nantong University in China tried to find why spinal cord stops working even though the injuries were not serious and their main aim was to search for an ultimate solution.
Their revolutionary study was published on Thursday, July 19 in the journal Cell, where the research team stated that they have found a promising result that one day could be applied to the humans. The team clearly mentioned that the objective of this research was even when the cord is not completely severed, why the nerve pathways fail to communicate.
A Research Associate at Boston Children's Hospital, Zhigang He, who also led the study told Newsweek, the researcher believe that instead of following the usual way to fix the issue that includes the nerve fibers to regenerate, which could affect the animal's motor function, but they a different process should be tried to make the treatment process more effective.
Now the paralysed patients, who have spinal cord injury are treated with epidural electrical stimulation that also includes rehabilitation training with using a current on the lower section of the spinal cord.
Zhigang added that the main problem is "if you turn off the stimulation, you don't see the function anymore. We thought if we can identify the mechanism, we might be able to do something better than electrical stimulation or combined with electrical stimulation."
To find a new way out of the problem the team tested multiple compounds on mice that will be able to alter neuron's excitabilities as well as can cross the blood-brain boundaries, which allows blood to flow through the brain and spinal cord but blocks other substances.
When the research team injected the compound into paralyzed mice for eight to 10 weeks, they found that CLP290 was the most promising compound, as those mice, who received that compound, were started to walk after four to five weeks of the treatment.
The research team also observed that after few rounds of the tests those mice became able to walk properly and developed normal capabilities such as weight bearing. As per the team, this compound could be injected to the humans directly to treat their spinal injuries. They also believe that this process will also provide a hope for other neuropathic disorders or epilepsy.