Case Western Reserve scientists discovered a new chemical that aids in restoring the functions of spinal cords after serious injuries. This new substance, intracellular sigma peptide (ISP), re-activates paralyzed muscles in over 80% of the animals tested. No drug or treatment has ever provided such a substantial recovery to victims of spinal cord injuries. When the spinal cord is severly injured, proteoglycan molecules gather in the scar tissue at the injury site. Normally these molecules are necessary to maintaining the nervous system, but after an injury, they build up to such an extent that they create a thick barrier around synapses and prevent new nerve connections from being formed. The majority of the animals in the test regained the ability to move, urinate, or both. This drug is very promising for use in victims of sever spinal cord injuries, as well as patients who suffer scarring from heart attacks, peripheral nerve injury, or multiple sclerosis.
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