Sunday, December 05, 2004

Preserving damaged spinal nerves with polyethylene glycol

Dogs with paralyzed hind legs walk again with lab injection
[68% of] Dogs with paralyzed hind legs walked again after getting a shot of a chemical cousin of antifreeze [antifreeze is usually ethylene glycol - they used polyethylene glycol] that helped repair nerve cells in their damaged spinal cords, scientists reported.

When I read this I thought it was rather a cruel sort of dog study, but actually these were injured pets that were enrolled in a clinical trial. Times do change.

Canines have a 25% recovery rate with standard intervention, this doubled the recovery. Hard to know if the results are real -- even in dogs. In guinea pigs the intervention has a 90% success rate.

Ethyelene glycol is very poisonous to animals - it's a neurotoxin that acts like a toxic form of alcohol. Perhaps PEG acts in a similar fashion on nerve endings, but is reversible?

Unsurprisingly it's been studied in stroke.

If it turned out to be effective for stroke it would have a huge impact on healthcare.

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