Researchers based in King’s College London have found that gene therapy can restore hand function after spinal cord injury in rats.
After suffering a spinal cord injury, dense scar tissue usually forms. It is this tissue that prevents connections being made between the nerve cells.
With gene therapy, an enzyme was produced by cells (chondroitinase) that broke down the scar tissue and allowed networks of nerve cells to regenerate.
When this gene therapy was switched on, researchers found a dramatic increase in the activity in the spinal cord of rats.