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Nanotechnology offers hope for treating spinal cord injuries, diabetes and Parkinson's disease

WASHINGTON, DC -- Imagine a world where damaged organs in your bodykidneys, liver, heartcan be stimulated to heal themselves. Envision people tragically paralyzed whose injured spinal cords can be repaired. Think about individuals suffering from the debilitating effects of Parkinsons or Alzheimers relieved of their symptoms completely and permanently.

Dr. Samuel I. Stupp, director of the Institute of BioNanotechnology in Medicine at Northwestern University, is one of a new breed of scientists combining nanotechnology and biology to enable the body to heal itself -- and who are achieving amazing early results. Dr. Stupps work suggests that nanotechnology can be used to mobilize the bodys own healing abilities to repair or regenerate damaged cells.

In a dramatic demonstration of what nanotechnology might achieve in regenerative medicine, paralyzed lab mice with spinal cord injuries have regained the ability to walk using their hind limbs six weeks after a simple injection of a purpose-designed nanomaterial.

A video of Dr. Stupp discussing his groundbreaking research with collaborator John Kessler is available on April 24 at www.nanotechproject.org/114.

"By injecting molecules that were designed to self-assemble into nanostructures in the spinal tissue, we have been able to rescue and regrow rapidly damaged neurons," said Dr. Stupp at an April 23 session hosted by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "The nanofibers thousands of times thinner than a human hair are the key to not only preventing the formation of harmful scar tissue which inhibits spinal cord healing, but to stimulating the body into regenerating lost or damaged cells."

Stupps work hinges on a fundamental area of nanotechnology self-assembly that someday should enable medical researchers to tailor and deliver individualized patient treatments in previously unimaginable ways. Stupp and his co
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Contact: Sharon McCarter
sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4016
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
23-Apr-2007


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