By Dr. Andrew Jones
This is currently in the news, and it is fabulous for those involved.
First the dogs all had prior injuries, causing them to be paralyzed- in other words none were hurt for this study.
In the study, the dogs had olfactory ensheathing cells from the lining of their nose removed.
These cells 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.
The transplanted cells regenerated nerve fibres across the damaged region of the spinal cord. This enabled the dogs to regain the use of their back legs and coordinate movement with their front limbs.
Jasper, a 10-year-old dachshund, is one of the dogs which took part in the trial.
His owner May Hay said:: “Before the treatment we used to have to wheel Jasper round on a trolley because his back legs were useless. Now he whizzes around the house and garden and is able to keep up with the other dogs. It’s wonderful.”
Here is Jasper on video [EDIT: Video removed from YouTube]
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