Dog Nose Cells Repair Spine: Scientists used nose cells from pet dogs paralyzed in accidents to restore movement to their legs. The clinical trial, which involved 34 pet dogs with spinal cord injuries, is the first to show that using olfactory ensheathing cells could significantly repair damaged spines.
It’s been known for more than a decade that these cells support nerve fiber growth. But so far, no one has found a way to effectively use them to treat damaged spinal cords. Professor Robin Franklin, one of the study leaders from Cambridge University, and his colleagues took olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the lining of a group of dogs and injected those cells, with a liquid, into the injury site. Each month, the scientists test the dogs for neurological function. Significant improvement was seen in the dogs injected with OECs, but not those receiving the placebo treatment. The scientists reported their results in the journal Brain.
The researchers cautioned that these are preliminary results and that the new nerve connections that were generated occurred over short distances. That means that the technique might be able to restore a small amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries, but would not likely restore all function.