Scientists have developed an injection that is being called “revolutionary”.
According to a new study, the drug TTK21 has the potential to repair spinal cord injuries. It was tested on paralysed mice who ended up regrowing nerves within three months of being injected with it.
Lead author Dr Simone Di Giovanni of Imperial College London said in a media release that the drug was very important as there is currently no cure for chronic spinal cord injury.
In such an injury, neuronal regrowth and repair fail. TTK21, however, seems to increase neuronal transmission in the synapses and promote neuronal growth.
The damage to the spinal cord is not limited to the back but interferes with the stream of electrical signals traveling from the brain to the rest of the body. This can cause paralysis in the limbs.
The study published in the journal PLOS Biology said the new drug can regenerate axons which are long spindly parts of a nerve cell.
At the moment, only physical rehabilitation helps injured people regain some mobility. Apart from that, there are no drugs to cure a chronic spinal cord injury.
The mice were given the drug for 12 weeks following a severe injury. Researchers saw that TTK21 helped the regrowth of motor and sensory neurons.
It is an epigenetic activator that targets damaged DNA.
According to Dr Giovanni, the increase in sensory axon growth could be due to an increase in gene expression related to regeneration.
He added that experts were exploring new strategies to use the drug and combine it with other biomaterials to “improve disability in SCI patients”.