After a spinal cord injury, many of the nerve fibers at the injury site lose their insulating layer of myelin. As a result, the fibers are no longer able to properly transmit signals between the brain and the spinal cord contributing to paralysis. Unfortunately, the spinal cord lacks the ability to restore these lost myelin-forming cells after trauma.
Tissue engineering in the spinal cord involves the implantation of scaffold material to guide cell placement and foster cell development. These scaffolds can also be used to deliver stem cells at the site of injury and maximize their regenerative potential.
When the spinal cord is damaged—either accidentally (car accidents, falls) or as the result of a disease (multiple sclerosis, infections, tumors, severe forms of spinal bifida, etc.)—it can result in the loss of sensation and mobility and even in complete paralysis.
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