The new method shows first positive results.
An article describing current achievements appeared in Spinal Cord.
The method is based on transporting therapeutic genes and cord blood cells to the damaged region of the spinal cord. Tests on rats show recoveries of motor functions.
Cord blood cells are unique in having a large number of stem cells, they are also bio-secure and produce little immune response. However, cells alone are not enough to treat serious injuries - such as spinal cord ones. That's why KFU's researchers also created a number of gene products that inhibit degenerative processes and stimulate nerve tissue regeneration.
Professor Albert Rizvanov told us that combined gene therapy and cell therapy produces the best effect.
"That way the cells themselves not only stimulate regeneration but also start to produce more bioactive factors which in turn leads to the recoveries of rats' spinal cords after contusion traumas".
The tested methods can be used to treat not only spinal cord injuries but also peripheral nervous system traumas, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), ischemias, other locomotor system injuries.
The project also involves teams from Kazan State Medical University and Republican Clinical Hospital. Relevant papers appeared in Spinal Cord, Сurrent Gene Therapy, Neuroscience, and other journals.