June 12th, 2005

Geri's Fred

Probably THE single most exciting piece of news I've EVER seen!

In today’s Star Tribune, there is an article entitled Filters of life wherein we read: “The rat in Sally Meiners’ New Jersey lab stood on its hind legs, spied food and darted to the other end of the cage to grab the morsel. Just four days earlier the rat had sat motionless, its spine severed and hind legs paralyzed.”

It seems that for years now, Donaldson company has been making nanofiber air filters for machinery such as tractors, and that a few years ago somebody discovered/realized that this material could function as a substrate on which animal cells could grow normally. (Apparently animal cells don’t do well on glass petri dishes.)

“This spring, Meiners, a spinal cord injury researcher, decided to give the fibers a try. When she inserted them in the gap in her rat’s severed spine, its nerve cells grew over the fibers, connected the severed area and enabled the rat to walk again.

“At least five more years of research are needed before anyone expects that the results of this lab work could be applied to humans.”

But … wow … just wow