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Have spinal cord regeneration experiments been attempted with humans successfully?

Question:
I have read of studies that have been done with cats and rats (maybe mice) concerning spinal cord regeneration and I am wondering if these experi- ments have been attempted with humans, and if so, have they been successful? If they have been successful, are there clinical trials going on that a Medi- care patient would be eligible to join? If they have not been successful to date, has there been any speculation as to whether a success is going to be likely before the end of the 20th century?


Answer:
There is a great deal of research currently underway with rats, mice, cats and other mammalian (and non-mammalian) species. Currently, these studies are mostly aimed at understanding the basic science involved in spinal cord development and repair after injury. There have been a few clinical trials with things like gangliosides which seemed to help reduce the trauma from the original injury but in terms of actual regeneration, there has been no success with clinical trials and very limited success with animal (mammals) experimentation. IMHO there is not enough knowledge yet about the basic science involved to effect successful regeneration. It is a problem of incredible complexity that is not likely to be solved in the very near future, but as someone familiar with the field, I believe that someday it may be possible. I couldn't put a time limit on it though, this is one of the things i like about science - the key discovery might happen tomorrow or it might take another hundred years of painstaking research, you never know :)



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