Speed heals

Both the rate and direction of axon growth in the spinal cord can be controlled, according to new research by USC College’s Samantha Butler and her collaborators.
The study, “The Bone Morphogenetic Protein Roof Plate Chemorepellent Regulates…

IV infusions of stem cells benefit rodents with ALS, spinal cord injury

Stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) migrate to damaged areas in the brain and spinal cord caused by disease or injury and provide some therapeutic benefit, two new animal studies by researchers at the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair found. Both studies, conducted in collaboration with Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc., appear in the the latest issue of the Journal of Hematotherapy & Stem Cell Research published today.

Umbilical cord matrix, a rich new stem cell source, study shows

The cushioning material or matrix within the umbilical cord known as Wharton’s jelly is a rich and readily available source of primitive stem cells, according to findings by a research team at Kansas State University. Animal and human umbilical cord matrix cells exhibit the tell-tale characteristics of all stem cells, the capacity to self-renew and to differentiate into multiple cell types. The cells — called cord matrix stem cells to distinguish them from cord blood cells — can be obtained in a non-invasive manner from an abundant source of tissue that is typically discarded.

Possible treatment window for spasticity in spinal cord injury

It’s a cruel irony that strikes many victims of spinal cord injury: In those who suffer only partial paralysis, limbs that should remain healthy become stiff and useless because of chronic spasticity, a painful condition that causes muscles to contract involuntarily. But Florida researchers charting the development of spasticity in rats with spinal cord injuries were surprised to find the process briefly reverses itself. This discovery raises the possibility that physicians could someday find a way to spare patients its debilitating effects by intervening at a critical time.