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Three years ago a Dachshund dog could not walk all when a slipped disc damaged his spinal cord and left him paraplegic. He was in a lot of pain and dragged his legs flat along the floor behind him.
But now, scientists have used a novel technique to treat him - they took special cells from his nose and injected them into his spine.The results were dramatic.
ITV News' Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty explains that according to one leading researcher "it's not a cure for spinal cord injuries but it's the most encouraging advance for years".
Scientists restored movement to Jasper's hind legs by bridging breaks in the spinal cord using cells taken from their noses.
Annabel Roberts reports:
Jasper's owners May and Peter Hay told ITV News that the treatment has made a "tremendous difference" to the little dachshund and they would be "thrilled" if it could offer new hope for paralysed human patients.
For more than a decade, experts have known that olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) might prove useful in treating damaged spinal cords.
The cells support nerve fibre growth that maintains a communication pathway between the nose and the brain.
Previous research suggests that OECs can help form a bridge between damaged and undamaged spinal cord tissue by regenerating nerve fibres.
Although the treatment had been shown to be safe in human patients, its effectiveness was unknown.
In the new trial, scientists studied 34 pet dogs that had all suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of accidents and back problems. None were injured deliberately for the sake of research.
A year or more after their injuries, the animals were unable to use their back legs to walk and incapable of feeling pain in their hindquarters.
A study of pet dogs with severe spinal injuries suffered in accidents offers new hope for paralysed human patients.
Scientists restored movement to the dogs' hind legs by bridging breaks in the spinal cord using cells taken from their noses.
The video shows previously crippled dachshund, Jasper, during the course of the treatment:
Scientists studied 34 dogs that had all suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of accidents and back problems.
Professor Robin Franklin, one of the study leaders from Cambridge University, said
Scientists have restored movement to the hind legs of dogs with severe spinal injuries by injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose.
Jasper, a previously crippled dachshund, was described by his owner of "whizzing around the house" after undergoing the treatment.
The trial is the first to demonstrate effective spinal cord repair in "real life" injury cases, offering new hope for paralysed human patients.