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EpiPen developed for spinal cord injuries

12th July 2019

Researchers from University of Michigan has created an ‘EpiPen’ of nanoparticles, which could prevent Paralysis from spinal cord injuries by controlling the body’s immune system from overreacting to trauma.

The nanoparticles can intercept immune cells on their way to the spinal cord, redirecting them away from the injury. Less inflammation and tissue deterioration will occur due to fewer immune cells at trauma location.

Nanoparticles also make these diverted immune cells more pro-regenerative, which make them more suited to support tissue regrowth.

Trial has only been conducted in mice so far, but researchers hope the new technique can help in paralysis prevention in humans.

The new device will offer advantages over the existing ones as it provides intermittent measurements of average blood flow.

Spinal cord houses central nervous system and blood-brain barrier prevent it from immune activity. When this barrier breaks, immune cells can create too much inflammation and can lead to rapid death of neurons. This death damages the insulating sheaths around nerve fibres that allow them to send signals, and forms scar that blocks regeneration of spinal cord’s nerve cells. All these can induce loss of function below the injury’s level.

Earlier, steroids were used to offset this immune response but had side effects. The new technology can overcome these problems.

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