Mini-Brains could have huge impact on drug research

Firstly what are Mini Brains?

Miniature brains that show electrical activity akin to “a primitive type of thinking” could revolutionise how some drugs are tested and reduce the need for animals in research, according to scientists who have developed the structures. Human mini-brains, made from the neurons of a full-sized brain, will be mass-produced to replace animals in drugs testing, in a move that is likely to transform research and development in pharmaceuticals.

cancer-research

What have the various News reporters been saying about Mini Brains?

These tiny mini-brains contain all the cell types found in a real brain.

Researchers often rely on animal models like mice to evaluate how new drugs will affect the human brain or to better understand how the brain functions. But in recent years, scientists have turned to “mini-brains”—tiny lab-grown balls of brain cells—to test pharmaceuticals or better understand the causes of some diseases. While many of these brains are sophisticated enough to mimic the structure of the human brain, they also have limitations: They take several months to grow, and each one varies slightly, which inhibits researchers from getting rapid, consistent results from their experiments.

Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have developed a technique for making mini-brains more quickly and consistently, which they believe could allow mini-brains to replace animal testing for a variety of experiments. Dr. Thomas Hartung, a professor of environmental health sciences and one of the researchers behind the project, presented the work on Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C.

The cells were working together as they would in a real brain.

Like other mini-brains, these are made from pluripotent stem cells—ones capable of producing any cell or tissue the body may need—that have been isolated from skin. But while others are isolated to a single plane (or as Hartung describes it, “like pan-fried eggs sunny side up”), the cells in these mini-brains are kept suspended by being constantly shaken as they develop. After eight weeks, the mini-brains were each just 350 micrometers in diameter but when hooked up to an EEG, they showed activity—indicating to the researchers that the cells were working together as they would in a real brain. And while the initial batches contain 800 mini-brains each, Hartung believes the system could expand to grow thousands per batch.

It was an otherwise normal day in November when Madeline Lancaster realized that she had accidentally grown a brain. For weeks, she had been trying to get human embryonic stem cells to form neural rosettes, clusters of cells that can become many different types of neuron. But for some reason her cells refused to stick to the bottom of the culture plate. Instead they floated, forming strange, milky-looking spheres.

“I didn’t really know what they were,” says Lancaster, who was then a postdoc at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna. That day in 2011, however, she spotted an odd dot of pigment in one of her spheres. Looking under the microscope, she realized that it was the dark cells of a developing retina, an outgrowth of the developing brain. And when she sliced one of the balls open, she could pick out a variety of neurons. Lancaster realized that the cells had assembled themselves into something unmistakably like an embryonic brain, and she went straight to her adviser, stem-cell biologist Jürgen Knoblich, with the news. “I’ve got something amazing,” she told him. “You’ve got to see it.”

Lancaster and her colleagues were not the first to grow a brain in a dish. In 2008, researchers in Japan reported1 that they had prompted embryonic stem cells from mice and humans to form layered balls reminiscent of a cerebral cortex.

Autism emphasis

The Johns Hopkins team created the iPSCs by reprogramming the skin cells of a patient with a specific disease or non-disease background. For example, Hartung and his colleagues are very interested in autism because cases of the disorder are doubling every 10 years in the US. ‘This cannot be explained by genetics because genes are not changing that fast, so there must be environmental factors,’ he said.

As a result, the team is making mini-brains from the cells of autistic children, and this allows them to then test the effects of various compounds on that disorder. ‘This is the first time that you really can test gene–environment interactions on a personalised basis,’ Hartung explained. ‘I could imagine similar applications for even testing whether an individual would react favourably to a certain drug or not.’ While such a possibility would be far too costly at the moment, he believes that these mini-brains could facilitate personalised medicine in the near future.

Around five labs in the world have developed similar brain models, but the Johns Hopkins model is different because it is better standardised, according to Hartung. Many of the other models take up to nine months to develop, and they are all unique, Hartung said. ‘These were the Ferraris, the Maseratis – the beautiful almost brain-like structures,’ he remarked. ‘We only produce mini-brains – mini-coopers – but they are all the same, and this allows us now not to compare different brains, but to compare different drivers.’ He stressed that their mini-brains can be used to compare different drugs and toxicants to better understand their various effects.

Hartung is now applying for a patent on the mini-brains and is also creating a spin-off called Organome to produce and sell them. He said nobody should have an excuse to still use animal models, which come with ‘tremendous limitations’, including cost and time.

 

Latest good news from the fight against cancer

The fight against cancer continues worldwide and we have selected a number of good news stories from around the world regarding the research into cures for cancer.

Our first news story comes from Australia and is about a new cancer treatment has helped nearly 80% of those in a trial of patients with leukaemia.

From Yahoo News

Lives are being saved in Melbourne in a world-first trial of a potentially revolutionary cancer drug that comes in the form of a single tablet.

Some patients with an advanced form of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the most common type of leukaemia affecting about 1000 Australians each year, have been given a new lease on life with the invention of the new anti-cancer drug, venetoclax.

The drug has been in the works for five years.

Three Victorian centres – The Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute – began phase-one trials of it with severely ill patients in 2011.

There are 116 patients trialling the pill, which they take daily.

Professor Andrew Roberts, a haematologist at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, says 79 per cent of participants had promising responses to the drug.

One of those is Rod Jacobs, 63, who credits it with saving his life.

He was diagnosed with CLL in 2009 and given chemotherapy, but the cancer returned in 2012.

Mr Jacobs was accepted into the trial in 2013 and today not even the most sensitive medical test can detect cancer his blood.

“The results were fantastic – my quality of life has improved immensely,” Mr Jacobs told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for this drug.”

Professor Roberts says 20 per cent of the trial participants achieved complete remission.

“This is a very exciting result for a group of people who often had no other treatment options available,” he told reporters.

Professor John Seymour, chair of the haematology service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, said the new drug not only worked quickly, but had significantly milder side-effects than conventional treatments.

Unlike chemotherapy patients, trial patients felt only mild nausea.

However, as these results came from the first trial involving humans, it could take years until the drug is available to the public.

 

From the National Student

University of Southampton researchers have developed a revolutionary new form of treatment, known as Immunotherapy, which uses a person’s internal functions to fight cancer.

Cancer Cell

The research has been conducted by specialists and has had positive test results on a number of patients being treated at Southampton General Hospital.

Early forecasts suggest that a cancer immunotherapy vaccine could be available within 15 years, developed within a new state-of-the-art facility being built in the grounds of the Tremona Road hospital.

The Southampton Centre for Cancer Immunology, which will cost £25 million to build, will attract the finest cancer research brains under one roof and transform the lives of tens of thousands of patients who will benefit from their discoveries. It will create 60 new jobs and put Southampton firmly on the world treatment stage.

Tim Elliott, professor of experimental oncology at the University of Southampton, will be the director of the new centre.

“This is the first time researchers have felt comfortable talking about a cure. The excitement comes from the fact that there are now trials of Immunotherapy” explained Elliot.

Part of the reason that cancer is so dangerous is often the lack of effective treatment. However, Southampton scientists have made what could be a potentially game-changing breakthrough in their attempts to find a cure.

After years of minimal progression in the field, Immunotherapy, which supercharges the immune system to recognise and destroy cancerous cells, could provide the answer. Additionally, the treatment may actually provide patients with long-lasting protection against future growth.

“I think we will see vaccines used in Immunotherapy in patients with all types of cancer within 15 years” said Elliot.

cancer-research

 

From CNN

Nymox Announces Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial Results From Completed 18 Month Endpoint Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation (NASDAQ:NYMX) today announced results from the completion of the Company’s U.S. 40 month (18 month outcomes) localized prostate cancer Phase 2 NX03-0040 clinical trial of fexapotide triflutate (NX-1207). The study successfully met its pre-determined endpoints. Cancer progression clinical outcomes were significantly improved in the fexapotide treated patient groups.

The clinical trial commenced in February 2012 at 28 U.S. investigational clinical trial sites and enrolled 147 patients with low grade localized (T1c) prostate cancer. The study lasted 40 months overall from the first patient randomized to the last patient 18 month endpoints.

Results from the completed 18 month outcome study after a single injection of fexapotide included the following:

  • Absence of tumors (Primary Endpoint) controlled for size in baseline area: fexapotide 15 mg superior to control (p=.035); crossover fexapotide 15 mg superior to control (p=.002); crossover fexapotide overall superior to control (p=.014).
  • 75.5% reduction in biopsy proven prostate cancer Gleason upgrades (pathological progression) after 18 months in fexapotide 15 mg treated patients compared to control (p=.0055). 71.7% reduction in prostate cancer Gleason upgrades in fexapotide treated patients overall (p=.0045 vs controls).
  • 84.8% reduction after 18 months in surgery or radiotherapy instituted for prostate cancer Gleason upgrade (biopsy worsening) in fexapotide treated patients overall compared to control group (p=.014).
  • 54.8% reduction after 18 months in surgery or radiotherapy instituted for all causes with or without prostate cancer Gleason upgrade in fexapotide 15 mg treated patients compared to control (p=.026).
  • Significant improvement for fexapotide patients compared to controls in 4 out of 4 Secondary Endpoints. Tumor volume reduction in the treated area, combined dosages (p=.04); tumor volume change in prostate overall, fexapotide patients overall (p=.014); median tumor grade outcome in the treated area, all dosages (fexapotide median benign, vs control median Gleason 3+3), and superior median tumor grade in prostate overall, fexapotide 15 mg vs controls.
  • Consistent safety results with no significant drug-related adverse events and no significant related sexual adverse events.
  • Overall superior results for the fexapotide 15 mg dose compared to the 2.5 mg dose (dose-response).
  • Other statistically significant improvement outcomes in fexapotide patients compared to controls, to be presented comprehensively at medical meetings.

“These results demonstrate that a single targeted office injection of fexapotide has led to statistically significant improvement in outcomes with much less surgery or radiotherapy required after 18 months. This means a reduction in patient discomfort, and a reduction in permanent side effects and life changes when the more invasive treatments are required,” said Paul Averback, CEO of Nymox.

Some of the happiest places, nations and states

There are many reports out there that list the happiest places in the World and we thought we’d list some of the most popular ones. From nations to cities and states, there are certain places in the world that just seem happier. Why is this and what makes a happy place? Well maybe our listings can throw some light on that!

cornish beach
happy beach, happy days!

HAPPIEST NATIONS, TOP FIVE

What’s the secret to these happy countries – is it the location, environment, politics, culture, or just something in the water?

While we may never know the precise reasons, after compiling data from various resources like the Happy Planet Index, the World Happiness report, and Forbes’ list of happiest countries,

we can at least let you know what the 10 happiest countries in the world are.

Then, all that’s left for you to do is pack your bags, pick a country, and make your move.

COSTA RICA

Not only does Costa Rica abound with natural beauty, from the sandy beaches and ocean waters to the volcanoes and lush rainforests, but the people of this army-free country also report having one of the highest life satisfactions in the world. With a high life expectancy of 79.3 years, locals get to enjoy the pleasant living for years and years. It’s no wonder that their local saying, “pura vida”, loosely translates to “life is good”, if you have good health insurance for your trip there!

NORWAY

It’s not surprising that Norway tends to rank very high on world happiness reports – it’s one of the most prosperous countries in the world, has the 2nd highest level of satisfaction with standards of living, and three quarters of its residents report that they have more positive than negative experiences each day. The country is also one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth, with an abundance of fjords, glaciers, and mountains.

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland is simply stunning, with its towering snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, and environments that range from lush to frozen. Its people are also some of the happiest, with higher than average life expectancies, strong health rankings, plenty of community involvement, and great safety. Plus, in a place that’s known for its abundance of delectable chocolate, how could you ever be sad?

VIETNAM

According to several reports, Vietnam is the happiest country in all of Asia. Residents have a very high level of satisfaction with their life, enjoying the gorgeous beaches, green mountains, dramatic scenery, and mouthwatering regional cuisine.

AUSTRALIA

Don’t let all the sharks, snakes, and venomous spiders fool you – Australians are some of the happiest in the world. Not only do they live in one of the most adored spots on earth (who wouldn’t like sunny skies, coral reefs, and white sand beaches?), but they also rank high in many life-happiness categories; they have some of the highest scores for community engagement, health, environmental care, and employment.

Other countries that could have easily made our list include New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Austria and Germany.

 

HAPPIEST U.S. STATES

Here is a list of the happiest U.S. states by most measures. It is interesting how the top two are not part of the 48!

Alaska
Hawaii
South Dakota
Wyoming
Montana

Why is Hawaii so popular when it is actually quites expensive?

Living in Hawaii and Housing Cost

To rent a place in Hawaii is significantly more expensive than in most places on the U.S. mainland. A studio on Oahu, for example, costs anywhere from $700-$1,200+ per month, depending on the location. A two-bedroom apartment or a house typically starts from $1,500 per month and up. Luxurious newly-built one-bedroom condos typically rent for $2,500 and up.

When looking at the average wage people make in Hawaii, it is clear that it falls far short of the average wage required to rent a two-bedroom apartment, according to 2013 data made available by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Hawaii is currently $1,671. To be able to afford this rent without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household has to earn $5,571 per month or $66,853 per year.

On the other hand Alaska seems more affordable…

The cost of living in many cities throughout Alaska is affordable and is significantly less expensive than San Francisco, Honolulu, Manhattan and a handful of other U.S. cities.

The state’s best offerings are free

And that’s not all. Places like Anchorage and Fairbanks provide all the conveniences of large cities, but without the congestion and hassles. Commutes can be shorter, so you don’t need to burn a lot of gas. There are greenbelts and parks everywhere with access to dozens of activities for families: world-class fishing, skiing, snow machining, ice skating, sledding, hiking, biking and rafting are just a stone’s throw away. And taking advantage of them doesn’t require money for a plane ticket and hotel. Open spaces are right out your front door. In other words, the best parts of Alaska are completely free!

HAPPIEST CITIES ON EARTH – YOUR TOP FIVE

Copenhagen, Denmark

There’s something annoyingly amazing about the Danes. Just 5.5 million people live in a country half the size of Ireland, and yet they’ve managed to create some of the best welfare models, restaurants and TV shows on earth.

Florianopolis, Brazil

Where? Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be the first to ask. But readers of ‘Conde Nast Traveller’ recently voted Florianapolis the world’s friendliest city. Happy days: Brazil is enjoying a big couple of years, hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne retains the crown of “most liveable” city in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Report for 2014. In plain English, that puts the Australian city top of the pile when it comes to stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna occupies the No.1 spot on the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, ranking for several years now as global consulting companies’ top city (Zurich and Auckland followed as second and third)

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver may have more Starbucks than soul, but it’s rarely absent from lists of the world’s happiest, most livable and beautiful cities. Most recently, it finished third behind Melbourne and Vienna on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Global Livability Report.

15Ways to being a happier person

Good News Stories is all about making you feel positive and we’d like to share some of that good energy with a few ways to be a happier person!

cornish beach
Go to the beach!

Don’t Worry, Choose Happy

The first step, however, is to make a conscious choice to boost your happiness. In his book, The Conquest of Happiness, published in 1930, the philosopher Bertrand Russell had this to say: “Happiness is not, except in very rare cases, something that drops into the mouth, like a ripe fruit. … Happiness must be, for most men and women, an achievement rather than a gift of the gods, and in this achievement, effort, both inward and outward, must play a great part.”

Today, psychologists who study happiness heartily agree. The intention to be happy is the first of The 9 Choices of Happy People listed by authors Rick Foster and Greg Hicks in their book of the same name.

“Intention is the active desire and commitment to be happy,” they write. “It’s the decision to consciously choose attitudes and behaviors that lead to happiness over unhappiness.”

Change and adapt.

Society is a changeable commodity. We need to change and adapt. If you sit too tightly on your chair, you will not be happy.

Not many things are certain in life, but two things are: We all will die; and more importantly, things will change. Your job won’t last forever, your kids will grow up, your house will age, and your spouse will change.

We all need to change and adapt. Take the opportunity to have fun with it. See it as a positive.

Foster Forgiveness

Holding a grudge and nursing grievances can affect physical as well as mental health, according to a rapidly growing body of research. One way to curtail these kinds of feelings is to foster forgiveness. This reduces the power of bad events to create bitterness and resentment, say Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons, happiness researchers who edited The Psychology of Happiness.

In his book, Five Steps to Forgiveness, clinical psychologist Everett Worthington Jr. offers a 5-step process he calls REACH. First, recall the hurt. Then empathize and try to understand the act from the perpetrator’s point of view. Be altruistic by recalling a time in your life when you were forgiven. Commit to putting your forgiveness into words. You can do this either in a letter to the person you’re forgiving or in your journal. Finally, try to hold on to the forgiveness. Don’t dwell on your anger, hurt, and desire for vengeance.

 

Do things for others

Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping other people is not only good for them; it’s good for us too. It makes us happier and can help to improve our health. Giving also creates stronger connections between people and helps to build a happier society for everyone. It’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good.

Cultivate Gratitude

In his book, Authentic Happiness, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman encourages readers to perform a daily “gratitude exercise.” It involves listing a few things that make them grateful. This shifts people away from bitterness and despair, he says, and promotes happiness.

Take care of your body

Our body and mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as healthier. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of depression. We don’t all have to run marathons – there are simple things we can do to be more active each day. We can also boost our wellbeing by spending time outdoors, eating healthily, unplugging from technology and getting enough sleep. Ensure you have good medical and travel insurance over 85 too if you are holidaying abroad.

Counteract Negative Thoughts and Feelings

As Jon Haidt puts it, improve your mental hygiene. In The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt compares the mind to a man riding an elephant. The elephant represents the powerful thoughts and feelings — mostly unconscious — that drive your behavior. The man, although much weaker, can exert control over the elephant, just as you can exert control over negative thoughts and feelings.

“The key is a commitment to doing the things necessary to retrain the elephant,” Haidt says. “And the evidence suggests there’s a lot you can do. It just takes work.”

For example, you can practice meditation, rhythmic breathing, yoga, or relaxation techniques to quell anxiety and promote serenity. You can learn to recognize and challenge thoughts you have about being inadequate and helpless.

Follow your dreams

I’m not talking about “a good job,” “a fine house” or “an okay life,” or, for that matter, taking up knitting, which you’ve dreamed about for years. I mean truly and utterly opening the channel to your inner core and seeing what you find. I mean doing what you really want to do with the rest of your life.

Impossible, you say? Well, I don’t mean quitting your job and jumping into the unknown. I mean, setting up a plan and some goals to start doing what you’ve always dreamed about, step-by-step if you like. And when you do, (wo)man will you glow.

Keep learning

Learning affects our wellbeing in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. There are many ways to learn new things throughout our lives, not just through formal qualifications. We can share a skill with friends, join a club, learn to sing, play a new sport and so much more.

Think positively.

Our thoughts are so powerful that it rocks my soul at the core when I think about it. And yes, we’ve heard it all before. But we humans think so many negative thoughts every day, and it’s in this negative sphere that we live and breathe.

Can you sense the contaminated thought-air? I can. Well then, change it!

Foster Friendship

There are few better antidotes to unhappiness than close friendships with people who care about you, says David G. Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness. One Australian study found that people over 70 who had the strongest network of friends lived much longer.

“Sadly, our increasingly individualistic society suffers from impoverished social connections, which some psychologists believe is a cause of today’s epidemic levels of depression,” Myers writes. “The social ties that bind also provide support in difficult times.”

Find ways to bounce back

All of us have times of stress, loss, failure or trauma in our lives. How we respond to these events has a big impact on our wellbeing. We often cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to what happens. In practice it’s not always easy, but one of the most exciting findings from recent research is that resilience, like many other life skills, can be learned.

Be comfortable with who you are

Nobody’s perfect. But so often we compare a negative view of ourselves with an unrealistic view of other people. Dwelling on our flaws – what we’re not rather than what we’ve got – makes it much harder to be happy. Learning to accept ourselves, warts and all, and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our wellbeing. It also helps us accept others as they are.

Engage in Meaningful Activities

People are seldom happier, says psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, than when they’re in the “flow.” This is a state in which your mind becomes thoroughly absorbed in a meaningful task that challenges your abilities. Yet, he has found that the most common leisure time activity — watching TV — produces some of the lowest levels of happiness.

To get more out of life, we need to put more into it, says Csikszentmihalyi. “Active leisure that helps a person grow does not come easily,” he writes in Finding Flow. “Each of the flow-producing activities requires an initial investment of attention before it begins to be enjoyable.”

Be part of something bigger

People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. But where do we find meaning and purpose? It might come from doing a job that makes a difference, our religious or spiritual beliefs, or our family. The answers vary for each of us but they all involve being connected to something bigger than ourselves.

British Doctors could be on brink of a cure for paralysis

This news could be the biggest of the good news site for many years.

cancer-research

In the UK doctors have maybe made a huge breakthrough in the treatment of paralysis that could give hope to millions around the globe who are confined to wheelchairs.

Here is some video news of the findings…

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMJLg5K40U0

How some of the news papers and agencies are reporting this around the world…

LONDON, United Kingdom – A parayzed Bulgarian man can walk again after receiving revolutionary treatment in Poland in a breakthrough hailed by one of the British scientists responsible as “more impressive than a man walking on the Moon”.

Darek Fidyka was paralyzed from the chest down following a knife attack in 2010, but can now walk using a frame after receiving treatment in which nerve cells from his nose were transplanted into his severed spinal column, according to research published in the journal Cell Transplantation on Tuesday.

 

“When there’s nothing, you can’t feel almost half of your body. You’re helpless, lost,” the patient, who is now recovering at the Akron Neuro-Rehabilitation Center in Wroclaw, told BBC’s Panorama programme.

“When it begins to come back, you feel you’ve started your life all over again, as if you are reborn. It’s an incredible feeling, difficult to describe,” the 40-year-old said.

Specialist olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), which form part of the sense of smell, were used in the treatment as they are pathway cells, enabling nearby nerve fibers to be continually regenerated.

The treatment involved two operations.

Pawel Tabakow, consultant neurosurgeon at Wroclaw University, led a team of surgeons in removing one of the patient’s olfactory bulbs before transplanting cultured cells into the spinal cord.

Scientists think that the cells, implanted above and below the injury, enabled damaged fibres to reconnect.

“What we’ve done is establish a principle, nerve fibres can grow back and restore function, provided we give them a bridge,” said Geoff Raisman, chair of neural regeneration at University College London’s Institute of Neurology, who led the British research team working on the joint project.

“To me, this is more impressive than a man walking on the Moon. I believe this is the moment when paralysis can be reversed.”

Tabakow said it was “amazing to see how regeneration of the spinal cord, something that was thought impossible for many years, is becoming a reality”.

‘Door will open in life’

For two years after sustaining the injury, Fidyka showed no sign of recovery despite intensive five-hour physiotherapy sessions.

The first signs of improvement came three months after the surgery, when his left thigh began putting on muscle.

Three months later, Fidyka was able to take his first steps with the aid of parallel bars and leg braces. He can now walk outside using a frame and has also recovered some feeling in his bladder and bowel.

“I think it’s realistic that one day I will become independent,” said the patient.

“What I have learned is that you must never give up but keep fighting, because some door will open in life.”

The research was funded by the UK Stem Cell Foundation and the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF), set up by chef David Nicholls after his son Daniel was paralysed in a 2003 swimming accident.

NSIF has given £1 million ($1.6 million, 1.26 million euros) to researchers in London and £240,000 to the team in Poland. Both camps say they will not seek to profit from the research.

“It would be my proudest boast if I could say that no patient had had to pay one penny for any of the information we have found,” said Raisman.

NSIF said it would acquire any patents and make them freely available.

“When Dan had his accident I made him a promise that, one day, he would walk again,” Nicholls told the BBC.

“I set up the charity to raise funds purely for research into repairing the spinal cord. The results with Darek show we are making significant progress towards that goal.”

The UK Stem Cell Foundation said the team was now searching for the best source of olfactory ensheathing cells and developing prototype nanofibre biomaterials on which transplanted OECs could grow.

They hope to raise enough money to hold clinical trials on 10 patients in Britain and Poland.

 

More on this story…

The 38-year-old Bulgarian man is believed to be the first person in the world to recover from complete severing of the spinal nerves, with sensation now returned to his lower limbs.
Darek Fidyka, who suffered his injury four years ago, can now walk with a frame and has been able to resume an independent life, even to the extent of driving a car.
Surgeons used nerve-supporting cells from his nose to provide pathways along which the broken tissue was able to grow.
Despite success in the laboratory, it is the first time the procedure has been shown to work in a human patient.

Researchers said the man was “not dancing but absolutely delighted” by the breakthrough.
Professor Geoffrey Raisman, whose team at University College London’s Institute of Neurology discovered the technique, said: “We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”
A Polish team led by one of the world’s top spinal repair experts, Dr Pawel Tabakow, from Wroclaw Medical University, performed the surgery.
The procedure involved transplanting olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the nose to the spinal cord.

OECs assist the repair of damaged nerves that transmit smell messages by opening up pathways for them to the olfactory bulbs in the forebrain.
Re-located to the spinal cord, they appear to enable the ends of severed nerve fibres to grow and join together – something that was previously thought to be impossible.

So could this be the cure for paraylsis?

cure for the first time after a new technique pioneered by British doctors allowed a man with a severed spinal cord to recover the ability to walk.

A revolutionary implant of regenerative cells has knitted back together the spinal cord of a wheelchair-bound firefighter paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack, restoring sensation and muscle control to his legs.

The astonishing breakthrough by an Anglo-Polish medical team is the first ever instance where a complete spinal paralysis has been reversed and represents the potential conquering of one of the greatest challenges in medical science. If validated, it offers hope of a life-changing therapy to the 2.5m people paralysed by spinal injury in Britain and across the world.

The technique, developed by researchers at University College London and put into practice by surgeons in the Polish city of Wroclaw, uses specialist human cells which repair damage to nasal nerves to enable spinal nerve fibres to re-grow and bridge a severed cord.