Reversing the irreversible
In support of the 2.5 million people worldwide living with the consequences of a spinal cord injury (SCI) – 50,000 of whom are in the UK and Ireland – the Grand Charity and Masonic Samaritan Fund have donated £41,977 towards groundbreaking medical research by the UK’s leading spinal cord repair charity, Spinal Research.
Currently there is no reliable treatment for paralysis caused by an SCI. This paralysis is due to damage to the spinal cord, which links the brain with the rest of the body and contains bundles of nerve fibres belonging to neurons. While broken vertebrae can heal, damaged neurons and fibres cannot.
However, leading researchers at Cambridge University have identified a protein that may be responsible for blocking neuron regrowth. If they can find a way to stop this protein from working, then it may lead to a treatment that enables the nervous systems of paralysed SCI patients to self-repair.