Spinal cord injury repair to arrive ‘inside a decade’

There is no current treatment for serious spinal cord injury, but that is likely to change inside the next decade (Credit: http://www.topnews.in/health/)

People with spinal cord injuries could have a radical new treatment available to rebuild their spine, and help them walk again, inside the next decade.

That’s according to Professor Abhay Pandit, a NUI Galway-based scientist, and Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, which is also located in Galway.

Prof Pandit’s research group is aiming to construct a kind of  biological scaffold that will link separated pieces of spinal, and reconnect them, using stem cells that are ‘told’ to grow into new spinal cord tissue.

There are many hurdles to overcome before such a treatment is available, but Prof Pandit believes it will happen, and, finally, there will be an effective treatment available to help people with spinal cord injury.

This will be great news to those affected by spinal cord injuries and their families.

According to Spinal Injuries Ireland, spinal cord injury affects, on average, one person per week in Ireland.

The majority of these injuries are sustained by people in the 18 to 35 age group, and 75 per cent of these do not return to work after their injury.

Click on the link below to hear an interview with Prof Pandit, explaining the science behind what is planned over the next few years, and Martin Codyre, a 34-year-old Irish engineer with a spinal cord injury.

LISTEN: Interviews with Abhay Pandit and Martin Codyre

Broadcast first on Science Spinning on 103.2 Dublin City FM