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Aneta Augustyn 2008-06-26

Got paralyzed transplant hope....

Can a man with backbone cut will be able to walk? For the last four years doctors from Wroclaw are working to solve this problem. On Thursday they conducted an operation in the first transplantation to the spinal cord nerve cells taken from the nose.

There is a real hope for people in wheelchairs, for which the medicine was helpless until now – said prof. Wlodzimierz Jarmundowicz of Wroclaw Academy of Medical, Neurosurgery Clinic, who directs the research program.

Four years ago the spinal cord of one young man was cut by the means of knife. He was paralyzed from the waist down. Since then he moves on a trolley. The operation was chosen among others due to his young age and good health.

Scientists place great hope in olfactory glial cells /OGC/ that occur in the nasal mucosal membrane. Their structure was known at the end of the nineteenth century but long time their function was not determined. Only research conducted in the period of 80. by Prof. Geoffrey Raissman of the National Institute of Medical Research in London have shown that they are responsible for the recovery of the glial epithelium. Epithelium , which allows us distinguish different odors is constantly eroding due to injures and inflammatory conditions, but thanks OGC regenerates within few weeks.

Damages of the central nervous system are irreversible – said Prof. Jarmundowicz. Meanwhile, it appeared that the glial cells in our noses are the only part of the nervous system which are able to regenerate. Paralyzed rats with a knife cut spinal which implantable OGC, began to climb again in the box

Unique property of cells from the nose is trying to be used for the regeneration of damaged spinal cord fibers. This is an opportunity for people with completely defective core, including victims of car accidents or jumping into water too shallow.

Each year in Poland, for this reason 700 people are reaching wheelchairs. Thus far there was no effective way to restore the feeling and motor function. Spinal transplantation of OGC it is the break-through in neurosurgery, which is some hope for the paralyzed – such as our patient – professor said to us yesterday before the operation. First, olfactory film was collected from the nose of 26 years old man. Isolated from epithelium which was used for breeding OGC. Material for transplantation is a mixture of cells grown in the last weeks and the cells frozen two years ago and now unfrozen.. Yesterday during the long tedious operation, which took part seven doctors, the patient performed the spinal injection 120. Each contains about 25 thousand of olfactory cells to stimulate neuroregeneration. Only after the year will be found that the man will be able to move his feet.

The operation was preceded by four years of research conducted by scientists from the Academy of Medical, Neurosurgery Clinic and the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy of Polish Academy of Science in Wroclaw. In in vitro experiments on rats and on olfactory epithelium collected from deceased donors, it was possible to develop a method for the collection, selection and multiplication of cells, which then survived the nerve core. It was also checked their safety: do not cause tumors in animals or inflammatory conditions.

- This is completely experimental – said Prof. Jarmundowicz.

So far, three such operations done in Melbourne, has not yet given their results. Similar operations but slightly different method, performed in recent years in Lisbon and London, but also their results are checked.

This is the long-term process – says the professor. We are only at he beginning of the road.

Aneta Augustyn

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