Press release Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

Gene therapy restores skilled hand function in rats with spinal cord injury

15 June 2018

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and King’s College London have shown that rats with spinal cord injuries can re-learn skilled hand movements after being treated with a gene therapy. This is published on 14 June 2018 in Brain.

People with spinal cord injury often lose the ability to perform everyday actions that require coordinated hand movements, such as writing, holding a toothbrush or picking up a drink. Regaining hand function is the top priority for patients and would dramatically improve independence and quality of life. No regenerative treatments are currently available.

The researchers tested a new gene therapy for regenerating damaged tissue in the spinal cord that could be switched on and off using a common antibiotic. Professor Elizabeth Bradbury from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) said: ‘What is exciting about our approach is that we can precisely control how long the therapy is delivered by using a gene switch. This means we can hone in on the optimal amount of time needed for recovery. Gene therapy provides a way of treating large areas of the spinal cord with only one injection and with the switch we can now turn the gene off when it is no longer needed.’

More information

Read the full article on th website of Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience is an Academy research institute. It conducts basic and strategic research in the neurosciences. It examines how the human brain makes awareness, perception, movement, learning, social interaction and other cognitive functions possible. It also studies how brain disorders can disrupt these functions. 

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