JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Paralyzed mice walk again after just a few weeks

We all could use some good news, and this is quite extraordinary.

“Using gene therapy, a research team has succeeded in getting mice to walk again after a complete cross-sectional injury. The nerve cells produced the curative protein themselves.”

The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse both like this news. | Illustrated by Milo Winter

Normally spinal cord damage is pretty much permanent. Even though we all still have the same genes that built the nerves in the first place, no one seemed to have the right reboot code that could switch on the correct genes in the right order to do the repair. And to give you some idea of the complexity of this, in 2018 a different team estimated that as many as 580 genes may be involved in axon regeneration.

Plenty of researchers have been tapping on the windows and doors of the Nerve Regrowth Holy Grail. This time, instead of just regenerating a nerve in a petri dish, or even even a live animal, they’ve gone a leap further. These mice could walk again.

And all it took was a single injection? “This was a great surprise to the researchers”.