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Lifespan News โ€“ Spinal Cord Regeneration

A cocktail of peptides has restored the ability of mice to walk after trauma.

LSN Paralysis CureLSN Paralysis Cure

On this episode of Lifespan News, Ryan O’Shea talks about how an injection allows paralyzed mice to walk again after spinal cord injury.

Script

A new study has used a single injection to enable paralyzed mice to walk again, and itโ€™s getting some attention, including from some people you wouldnโ€™t necessarily expect, like Joe Rogan.

The study was led by Northwestern Universityโ€™s Samuel Stupp, who is the founding director of the Institute for BioNanotechnology and Center for Regenerative Nanomedicine. According to Stupp, โ€œThe aim of our research was to develop a translatable therapy that could be brought to the clinic to prevent individuals from becoming paralyzed after major trauma or disease.โ€

To accomplish this, researchers used modified peptides that are synthetic analogs of natural proteins. The treatment is injected into the body as a liquid, but soon self-assembles into a gel, which consists of a network of nanofibers similar to the extracellular matrix of the spinal cord. The researchers said that there are more than 100,000 molecules that move within the nanofibers, leading to them being referred to as โ€œdancing moleculesโ€.

The study showed that the materials eventually biodegrade and disappear from the body without noticeable side effects.

Stupp says that this paper, which describes a piece of science that he says was truly unknown, is probably the most important heโ€™s ever written. He also says that the researchers are going straight to the FDA to start the process of getting this new therapy approved for use in human patients.

And this is important from a life extension perspective – according to Northwestern University, life expectancy for people with spinal cord injuries is significantly lower than people without them and has not improved since the 1980s. If this is successful, it may not only extend quality of life, but may also lengthen the life expectancy of those dealing with spinal cord injuries.

Popular podcaster Joe Rogan has taken notice, posting to his Instagram to say that โ€œSpinal cord regeneration could one day be a real thing for humans. Limb regeneration is probably going to be a reality one day too. The question is, does it happen before or after they develop synthetic limbs that are superior to biological ones? Artificial Intelligence and the rise of a sentient, completely manufactured, super-intelligent life form are a huge threat to the human race, but I think humans merging with technology and becoming cyborgs might just happen before that. We all fear change, especially radical, completely transformative change, but it seems pretty likely that this is going to happen.โ€

I agree with much of what Joe Rogan is saying here, and when thereโ€™s more to share, Iโ€™ll make sure to bring it to you, so please subscribe so you donโ€™t miss out. Iโ€™m Ryan Oโ€™Shea and weโ€™ll see you next time on Lifespan News!

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