Picture: This is a 3-D printed nerve regeneration pathway implanted in a rat helped to improve walking in 10 to 12 weeks after implantation. Credit: University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering
How 3D printing guides might one day help nerve regeneration after spinal cord injury.
If you talk about possible future cure, treatment or recovery mechanism for spinal cord injury to SCI patients who have been paralyzed for more than 20 years, many of them will tell you: “oh, I’ve been there: hearing, a long time ago, that a cure for spinal cord injury will become available soon and that a regenerative therapy will be here within 5 years, and kept waiting and hoping… Now I don’t hope anymore…”.
That’s probably true. However, there is a huge difference between now and 20-30 years ago. Current scientific progress is huge, therapies are now being already tried on humans, and the technological landscape is so different! 3-D printing, along many other things, might be one of the new technologies that will contribute to curing spinal cord injury, for example as part of a combination therapy. When you read this article, beware that:
- The experiment is made on rats, not humans,
- That it is not yet shown how and whether this technology will apply to the central nervous system (which is the one damaged in case of a spinal injury) and in chronic setting (spinal cord injury, lesion older than a few weeks or a few months)
So, we are not there yet, by far. However, this shows the huge potential we now have at our disposal. It seems like we, the world, the scientists, do need to team-up and use that potential, think out of the box, combine various approaches to accelerate research towards curing spinal cord injury!
3-D printed guide helps regrow complex nerves after injury
Source: Science Daily.
“A national team of researchers has developed a first-of-its-kind, 3D-printed guide that helps regrow both the sensory and motor functions of complex nerves after injury. The groundbreaking research has the potential to help more than 200,000 people annually who experience nerve injuries or disease.
Collaborators on the project are from the University of Minnesota, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, Princeton University, and Johns Hopkins University.
Nerve regeneration is a complex process. Because of this complexity, regrowth of nerves after injury or disease is very rare, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nerve damage is often permanent. Advanced 3D printing methods may now be the solution…”
Read more here