Sabtu, 26 Februari 2011

Taxol and Repair of Spinal Cord Injuries

One of the challenges in facilitating repair of the spinal cord after spinal cord injuries has been to get axons to re-grow through the damaged area. Usually the process of axonal re-growth is inhibited by the formation of scar tissue.

But now researchers have discovered a potential new weapon in the treatment of spinal cord injuries – taxol, the same drug that is currently used to inhibit the growth of certain cancers. It turns out that taxol produces “stabilization” of microtubules in damaged areas of the spinal cord, which in turn reduces scarring and reduces the production of certain factors which normally inhibit axonal regeneration. The result is that axons tend to grow more readily through taxol-treated lesion sites.

So far, taxol has only been shown to work in rats. Nevertheless, these encouraging results could pave the way for future clinical trials in humans. Perhaps some day taxol will become part of the normal treatment regimen for spinal cord injuries.

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