There may finally be a cure for paralysis. Alan Mackay-Simof Griffith University in Australia thinks nerve cells froma patient’s own nose could be used to regenerate severednerves.
His team plans to experiment on 8 people who have beenparalyzed from the waist down for between six months andthree years. Half the patients will receive a spinalinjection of the their own nasal cells.
These olfactory cells connect the lining of the nose withthe brain, giving us our sense of smell. Unlike most nervecells, they continue to regenerate throughout life, probablybecause they can be destroyed by infections. “There’s only afew microns of mucus between the air and the nerve endings,”says Mackay-Sim.