Paralysis has new stem-cell-based approach–too late for Superman

At Johns Hopkins they’ve found a way to get embryonic stem cells to form new nerve connections that connect to muscle in paralyzed mice.

Christopher Reeves is smiling down on the world today, knowing that his contributions to our knowledge have helped make a difference for those who, like him, are paralyzed in profoundly life-changing ways. Today, though, scientists report they’ve succeeded in making paralyzed mice move again with stem-cell therapy. It’s a small study, reported in the Annals of Neurology, but its promise is practically limitless.

The key to this experiment was that researchers were able to find substances that would stop a natural body process that was preventing certain functions (axons growing) needed to repair connections. “Out of 15 paralyzed mice, 11 regained muscle function and strength.”

We are on the brink of an extraordinary change in how medicine is thought about, developed, and delivered. What a time, they will say this was.