NBD, just a paralyzed dog walking again after cells from his nose were used to fuse a spinal cord injury.
Good boy, Jasper! We all probably know that spinal cord neurons usually don’t regenerate after injury in adults. That’s why paralysis occurs, in a sense. There are lots of trials out there using cells that can regenerate, often stem cells, to try and “bridge the gap” and repair severed nerves.
This study was a bit different. It used a cell from the dogs’ noses, called an olfactory ensheathing cell (OEC), to help stimulate spinal nerve growth the same way they usually do between the nose and the brain. (UPDATE: A follower named Sarah said that Jasper could still wag his tail most likely due to an injury phenomenon called “sacral sparing”. Check out her post to find out how that works. Thanks Sarah!)
The result is the cute pup above. It’s really not known if it could aid humans one day, but if it can help Jasper, I think we can all agree that’s pretty wonderful.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go wipe off all these tears of science happiness (definitely not cute puppy tears, nope, no sireeee).
(via University of Cambridge, here’s the original research paper)