Nose cell transplant enables paralysed dogs to walk


Scientists have reversed paralysis in dogs after injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose. 

The pets had all suffered spinal injuries which prevented them from using their back legs. 

The Cambridge University team is cautiously optimistic the technique could eventually have a role in the treatment of human patients.

The study is the first to test the transplant in “real-life” injuries rather than laboratory animals.

In the study, funded by the Medical Research Council and published in the neurology journal Brain, the dogs had olfactory ensheathing cells from the lining of their nose removed.

These were grown and expanded for several weeks in the laboratory.

Of 34 pet dogs on the proof of concept trial, 23 had the cells transplanted into the injury site – the rest were injected with a neutral fluid.

Many of the dogs that received the transplant showed considerable improvement and were able to walk on a treadmill with the support of a harness.

None of the control group regained use of its back legs.

Written By: Fergus Walsh
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  1. This is hardly news. Surely it is something your very average faith healer has been doing for years.

  2. Selective breeding by humans resulted in the extremely long (and disease-prone) back of dachshunds. It’s only right that we try to help them by fixing our mistakes.


  3. For starters, Jaspers is way too fat and I’m sure his obesity did not help in his recovery of his legs. (Dachshund owner here).

    But the real news here is both greater and less than the limited front-leg improvement of some of the dogs. That is, the fact that adult cells CAN sometimes be used like stem cells in helping regenerate tissue is great news. It is only a matter of time before the researchers can tease out the factors that produce success and develop those. And if it works in one mammal, surely it can work in another. Cells function in much the same way across the mammalia class, don’t they?

  4. This breakthrough comes at an opportune time to mention that gene therapy  has been green lighted in Europe after being halted in the US (at University of Pennsylvania — 15 minutes from me).

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