Posted on Nov 13, 2009, 6 a.m.
Purdue University (Indiana, USA) researchers develop high-tech method to repair damaged nerve fibers resulting from spinal cord injuries.
In that spinal cord injury (SCI) results in immediate disruption of neuronal membranes, followed by extensive secondary neurodegenerative processes, researchers have aimed to find approaches to seal the damaged membranes at an early stage. Yunzhou Shi, from Purdue University (Indiana, USA), and colleagues have developed a nano-sphere technology that could be injected into blood shortly after an accident damaging the spinal cord. These synthetic "copolymer micelles" are drug-delivery spheres about 60 nanometers in diameter, or roughly 100 times smaller than the diameter of a red blood cell. The micelles aim to help spinal cord tissue recover its action potential -- ability to transmit signals, repairing damaged axons and enabling electrical impulses to be carried by the spinal cord.
Yunzhou Shi, Sungwon Kim, Terry B. Huff, Richard B. Borgens, Kinam Park, Riyi Shi, Ji-Xin Cheng. “Effective repair of traumatically injured spinal cord by nanoscale block copolymer micelles.” Nature Nanotechnology (8 November 2009) doi:10.1038/nnano.2009.303.