Saturday 3 December 2016

£1m grant boosts zebra fish research into paralysis

Published 30/11/2016 | 00:11

The team is looking into the remarkable ability of zebra fish to repair the sort of spinal damage that in humans causes irreversible loss of movement
The team is looking into the remarkable ability of zebra fish to repair the sort of spinal damage that in humans causes irreversible loss of movement

A pre-Brexit £1 million European research grant is to help British scientists investigate a fishy secret that could lead to new treatments for spinal cord injuries.

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The team is looking into the remarkable ability of zebra fish to repair the sort of spinal damage that in humans causes irreversible loss of movement.

It is hoped the findings will lead to new therapies for spinal injury paralysis, as well as neurodegenerative conditions such as motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis.

Specialised microscope techniques will be used to watch the mechanisms of nerve cell repair in action in the fish.

At the end of the three-year study the researchers hope to have potential treatments that can be taken forward in clinical trials.

Lead researcher Professor Catherina Becker, director of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Neuroregeneration, said: "This exciting project brings together leading experts from across Europe to explore the intrinsic capacity of the spinal cord to repair itself.

"We hope this will eventually lead to urgently needed therapies for people who have damage to their spinal cord, either from disease or injury."

Brain experts from France, Germany, Belgium, and Poland will be taking part in the work.

The three-year study is supported by a 1.3 million Euro (£1.1 million) grant from the European Commission and co-funded through national agencies.

Prof Becker did not want to comment on the implications for research funding of the UK leaving the European Union.

Press Association

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