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  1. Lawrence McGinty

Dramatic stem cell research heals paralysed dog

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.

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Scientists treat damaged spinal cords

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.

Paralysed dog regains use of his hind legs

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:

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Dog paralysis study 'extremely exciting'

Scientists studied 34 dogs that had all suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of accidents and back problems.

The trial demonstrated effective spinal cord repair in "real life" injury cases.

Professor Robin Franklin, one of the study leaders from Cambridge University, 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.

– Professor Robin Franklin, one of the study leaders from Cambridge University

Paralysed dogs treatment offers hope to humans

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.