Valery Spiridonov, for RIA&DFL
Since the work of Dr. Canavero with my participation has attracted so much attention, due to his openness and contact, I managed to establish a connection with the best minds of the modern world in the field of medicine. The significant part of them are our Russian scientists, who have the knowledge behind them, formed on the basis of transplantology for more than a hundred years.
Today, in co-authorship with Sergei Vasilievich Kolesov, head of the department, doctor of medical sciences, professor of CITO of name Priorov in Moscow, I will introduce readers to one of the popular experimental techniques which attract interest in connection with the still unresolved issue of spinal cord reconstruction.
Binding the nerve fibers
The problem of regeneration of the spinal cord with its damage and defects is today one of the most urgent and requiring a comprehensive solution. Damage of the spinal cord, most often caused by spinal trauma, leads to severe disability of people, partial or total loss of ability to work, and often even the ability to self-service.
For the rehabilitation of this category of patients, the state spends hundreds of millions of rubles annually with a minimal positive effect. Thousands of medical centers and laboratories around the world are working to address this problem, but, despite technological progress, no significant success has been achieved so far.
With the advent of nanotechnology in recent years, new hopes have emerged to get the expected result. Scientists of Moscow Central Scientific Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics of Priorov’s name for 15 years trying to find the key to recovering the damaged spinal cord. In 2013, on the basis of CITO, a special scientific group was formed from whole number of specialists whose main task is to study the problems of regeneration, including nervous tissue.
Russian scientists conduct experiments on laboratory animals and tissue cultures using magnetic nanoparticles.
Magnetic nanoparticles have unique properties: they interact in a special way with magnetic fields, do not cause harm to organism and do not cause irritation, and their sizes can be easily changed, adapting them to solve different problems.
If such particles are introduced into the body and the patient or experimental animal is placed in a magnetic field, they will promote the fusion of damaged nerve endings – axons, which can potentially lead to the restoration of connections between the “halves” of the spinal cord.
Such an approach is unique for us – similar nanoparticles are used all over the world for very different purposes: “point” delivery of drugs and “illumination” of tissues in X-rays and other diagnostic procedures.
The series of experiments in rats conducted at CITO showed that magnetic nanoparticles do contribute to the healing of spine and spinal cord injuries.
In particular, rats with partially damaged spinal cord, into which the nanoparticles were introduced, in a few weeks began to restore their mobility, while their relatives from the control group remained partially paralyzed throughout the experiment.
Experiment on the fusion of damaged spinal cord with magnetic nanoparticles
In addition to animal experiments, CITO specialists also carry out experiments on nerve tissue samples grown in vitro from rat embryo cells. Such experiments will help us to understand what exactly happens at the cellular and molecular level during the restoration of connections between neurons, and also understand how nanoparticles cause their axons to “grow” in the right direction.
These scientific searches have already yielded results – we were able to find ways to “glue” nanoparticles to the surface of neurons and learn how to insert them into nerve cells. Such techniques allow manipulating the position and operation of a number of internal components of neurons, which in theory will allow physicians to control where and how the processes of axons will grow using magnetic fields.
All this, as the scientists of CITO hope, will help us in the near future to give hope to paralyzed patients, doomed to suffering, to return to full-fledged life.
Magnetic nanoparticles do not interfere with the work of other biomedical technologies, and they are likely to solve the fundamental problem of establishing links between the “half” of the central nervous system in head transplantation, which is now widely discussed in the scientific medical community.