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3D Cell Growth Opens New Pathway for Spinal Cord Repair

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  • 3D Cell Growth Opens New Pathway for Spinal Cord Repair

    Griffith University researchers have opened a new avenue to advance a therapy to repair the paralyzed spinal cord.
    A paper published in the prestigious Nature group journal Scientific Reports presents a novel technique to grow cells in three dimensions, without the traditional restrictions of matrix or scaffolds.
    By using floating liquid marbles, cells can freely associate and form natural structures as they would normally within the human body.
    "Allowing cells to grow in this 3D format dramatically increases their growth and function and is particularly useful for spinal transplantation repair in which cells are transplanted into the injury site," says research supervisor Dr James St John, from Griffith's Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery.
    The technique was developed when neurobiology merged with microfluidic engineering technology. Lead researcher, Griffith PhD student Mr Raja Vadivelu, and Professor Nam-Trung Nguyen (Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre) collaborated with Dr Jenny Ekberg (Queensland University of Technology) and scientists in Spain.
    "In Australia, more than 12,000 people live with spinal cord paralysis and there is at least one new occurrence every day," says Dr St John.
    "Although rehabilitation medicine has resulted in reductions in mortality, the current outcome for patients is permanent paralysis, with an overall cost to the community of $2 billion a year.