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Is hydrogel the key to healing spinal cord injuries?

When someone suffers a spinal cord injury it is possible they could become paralyzed. Despite multiple efforts to find an effective treatment that can undo the injury, historically there has not been an approach that works consistently.

A recent study focused on the way in which chondroitinase ABC could be used. The protein could assist in the healing of damaged nerves since it breaks down the scar tissue that forms after a spinal injury. The scar tissue acts a physical and chemical barrier where the regeneration of nerves is concerned. The protein needs to be present around the site of the scar for a long period of time in order to be effective. Multiple injections and long-term infusions into the spinal cord via a catheter are currently used.

Other approaches could be used in the future. While administering the protein with a time release may seem like an obvious approach, the fact that the technique does not always work with proteins, makes it less appealing. A technique that has shown some promise involves mixing the proteins into a hydrogel which is then injected at the site of the injury. If the approach ends up working, it is possible it could be used to administer treatments for other types of conditions, beyond spinal injuries, as well.

As anyone who has suffered a spinal injury or cares for a loved one in this situation is well aware, the injury can be life changing. While nothing can be done to undo the injury, a successful personal injury lawsuit could provide compensation that makes life easier.

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