International philanthropists are challenging the world to provide a Cancer Research Project offering the most efficient solution in Particle Physics for early cancer detection with the highest potential to reduce premature cancer death.
Taxol, the trade name of a drug currently used for cancer treatment, has now been shown to promote regeneration of injured CNS-nerve cells. The scientists report in the online issue of the journal Science that Taxol promotes regeneration of injured CNS-nerve cells in two ways: Taxol stabilizes the microtubules so that their order is maintained and the injured nerve cells regain their ability to grow. In addition, Taxol prevents the production of an inhibitory substance in the scar tissue. The scar tissue, though reduced by Taxol, will still develop at the site of injury and can thus carry out its protective function. Yet growing nerve cells are now better able to cross this barrier. "This is literally a small breakthrough", says Bradke.
Experiments in rats performed by this group verified the effects of Taxol. These researchers supplied the injury site after a partial spinal cord lesion with Taxol via a miniature pump. After just a few weeks, animals showed a significant improvement in their movements. "So far we tested the effects of Taxol immediately after a lesion", explains Farida Hellal, the first author of the study. "The next step is to investigate whether Taxol is as effective when applied onto an existing scar several months after the injury."
The fact that a clinically approved drug shows these effects has a number of advantages. Much is already known about its interactions with the human body. In addition, Taxol can be applied directly at the site of injury for the treatment of spinal cord injuries and the amount needed is far less than what is used in cancer therapy. This should reduce side effects. "We are still in the state of basic research and a variety of obstacles remain – and eventually, pre-clinical trials will need to be done ", cautions Bradke. "However, I believe that we are on a very promising path."