Researchers Repair Rat's Spinal Cord

A team of researchers led by Dr. Geoffrey Raisman published a study in the June Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine describing how they repaired a rat’s damaged spinal cord by transplanting cells from its nose.

The researchers transplanted olfactory nerve cells into the scar tissue of the rat’s damaged spinal cord. The nerve cells bridged the damage and restored the functionality of the severed nerve fibers in the spinal cord.

Raisman was quoted in the Daily Mail (London) as saying,

This procedure allows spinal nerve fibres to regrow in a way which has not been thought possible. . . . I have been working in this direction all my life and I never expected we would get this far. We now believe that human trials would be worthwhile.

Similar studies in other animals will have to take place first, but Raisman hopes human trials of this technique could begin within three years. It is certainly the latest in a string of findings thanks to animal research that offers the hope of one day curing even serious spinal cord injuries.


Rat healing raises hope for spinal cure. Corinne Amoo, Reuters, June 1, 2003.

Trials To Start On Repairing Damaged Spinal Cords. Paul Sims, The Daily Mail (London), June 2, 2003.

Rat Study Raises Spinal Cord Hopes For Humans. Stephen Cauchi, Sydney Morning Herald, June 3, 2003.

Leave a Reply