Human Exceptionalism

Paralyzed Dogs Walk Again

This technique has been already shown great hope in humans, but not nearly so dramatically as what has now happened with dogs in the UK. Adult stem cells taken from dogs’ own noses have restored mobility in animals with long term spinal cord injury. From the Telegraph story:

Paralysed dogs have been helped to walk again after being given an injection of their own stem cells in a treatment that could offer hope for human accident victims, it has been announced. The results have been hailed as ‘extremely exciting’ and ‘tremendously important’, by experts.

Researchers used pet dogs with ‘real life’ injuries to test the treatment which involved taking cells from the lining of the nose and injecting them into the spine in an attempt to bridge the damage in their spinal column. In the unique collaboration between the Medical Research Council Regenerative Medicine Centre and Cambridge University’s Veterinary School, scientists carried out the first randomised controlled trial using the technique, so neither the treating vet, the owner, nor indeed the dog, knew if they were receiving the real treatment or a dummy…

In particular, the researchers analysed the dogs’ ability to co-ordinate movement of their front and back limbs. The group of dogs that had received the stem cell injection showed considerable improvement that was not seen in the other group. These animals moved previously paralysed hind limbs and co-ordinated the movement with their front legs.

This is big news here in the UK. Stories like these tend to still get ignored in the biased USA media because they are not the “right” kind of stem cells, e.g., embryonic. But these mounting successes with ethical stem cell research are getting progressively more exciting and harder to ignore.

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