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12 June 2005 @ 11:20 pm
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

Current Mood: excitedexcited
eatsoylentgreeneatsoylentgreen on June 13th, 2005 04:31 am (UTC)
mice can regrow their spinal cords. They have better regenerative abilities than we do. The trade off is that they can get tumors easier than humans.

And hello, I'm a random browser.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of Geri's Fredfredcritter on June 13th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC)

Hello random browser.

I hadn’t known that about mice. It does make the news less exciting, but even so I reckon that the potential offered by a possible substrate for growing viable animal cells is still pretty darn exciting.

But then, of all the sciences biology is my weakest area. Maybe I’m just getting excited over nothing. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that has happened…

Mizz Laura Jeanmizzlaurajean on June 13th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
It is exciting it gives hope a funny little thing that keeps us going.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of Geri's Fredfredcritter on June 14th, 2005 01:35 am (UTC)

Yeah, like that.

I can't help wishing Christopher Reeve had lived to see this day. And here I'd thought he was way too far out on the optimistic hope curve…

Fighting Crime with a Giant Dandelion Since 2013pameladean on June 13th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
This was a rat, in any case.

Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on June 14th, 2005 01:30 am (UTC)

But isn't a rat just a mouse with a pituitary problem?

No…I guess probably not. Did I mention that biology is my weakest science?

Peter Hentgesjbru on June 13th, 2005 10:08 am (UTC)
Very cool. I love living in the future!
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of Geri's Fredfredcritter on June 14th, 2005 01:32 am (UTC)

Yeah. It's a lot like having bees living in your head…

Marybraider on June 13th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
That's really, really cool. Mind if I post a link to your journal? ('Course, I could just post a link direct to the article...)
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of Geri's Fredfredcritter on June 14th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC)

Aint' it, though?

I don't mind at all—go right ahead. It's fun to share.

Skylarker: Empathyskylarker on June 13th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
Even if it works better for mice than for humans it might still do humans some good. Keeping my (metaphorical) fingers crossed.
gomeza on June 13th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
Oh my gawd!
Forwarded / reposted to the known universe.
That's awesome.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of Geri's Fredfredcritter on June 14th, 2005 01:41 am (UTC)

All of that and more. That was pretty much my reaction too. “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

Cass W. Marshalljudith_dascoyne on June 13th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
I would not have known.
This makes me want to dance.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of Geri's Fredfredcritter on June 14th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks

In that case, I'm especially glad to have shared it. Dancing … good!

Chadcannibal on June 15th, 2005 02:29 am (UTC)
Yes, that is really cool. Does anyone know this Melvin Schindler, since he's fairly local at MSU? Wonder if it would be possible to get him and/or his wife to GoH at ConFusion?

Looked up the company, they have a press release backing this up a bit... seems interesting, I wonder if Donaldson would be good to invest in, to support the research.

Rats seem to be a common model for spinal cord work, and my quick reading indicates that they do not naturally regenerate. I do have a biology degree, but cell-molec, and never specialised in neurology. I can write a friend from lab who did.
(Anonymous) on June 15th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
Mike Glicksohn here. Don't know if you'll see this but it's worth a try. Just watched a fascinating film called STILL CRAZY about the resurrection of a defunct rock band. One of the actors is Jimmy Nail, a personal favourite of ours. During the film the Scottish comedian/actor Billy Connelly sings STEALIN'. Not as well as you do, but I was delighted to hear it anyway. (mglick@interlog.com)
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on March 13th, 2006 09:33 am (UTC)

Hmmm. I didn't see this until just now … but now, of course, I have seen it. Interesting. Gee thanks!