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Spine Study Shows Healing Process/University of Florida spinal cord research could lead to new treatments

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    Spine Study Shows Healing Process/University of Florida spinal cord research could lead to new treatments

    Spine Study Shows Healing Process
    University of Florida spinal cord research could lead to new treatments.

    New York Times Regional Newspapers

    GAINESVILLE -- A detailed study from investigators at the University of Florida may serve as a road map leading to potential new treatments for spinal cord injuries.

    Scientists at the McKnight Brain Institute and UF Genetics Institute looked at information from thousands of genes in two different strains of laboratory rats for a glimpse of how those genes swing into action in the hours, days and months following a spinal cord injury.

    They conclude that the body tries to heal a damaged spinal cord in much the same way it repairs the skin after a simple cut or scrape.

    "What our work has done is give a global picture of what goes on after injury," said Margaret "Jo" Velardo, the assistant professor of neuroscience who led the study.

    A quarter-million Americans now live with spinal cord injuries, which usually begin with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

    Using a microarray, a powerful tool that screens the activity of more than 8,000 genes simultaneously, the UF researchers checked at six time points after spinal injury in rats and found that 3,630 genes turned on or off in response. The first genes to enter the fray are remarkably similar to those that drive clot formation and the mobilization of immune cells that fix skin wounds in humans.

    Researchers Henry Baker and Corinna Burger of the molecular genetics and microbiology department and the UF Genetics Institute assembled more than 280,000 bits of information that revealed how armies of genes were activated or shut down to deal with the spinal injury, not just within a few days of the injury but for as long as three months afterward.




      "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
      Gandolf the Gray

      2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

      "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

      .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."