Proven in the labs Texas-PEG has already restored motor function in injured lab rats
it isn’t the first time that we’re read about new breakthroughs that have repaired, and reversed serious paralysis but now Graphene, the super material that seems to have almost limitless potential has found another use case. In a world first a team at Rice University has shown that the material could be key to a promising new treatment for patients with severe spinal cord injuries.
Previous work has shown graphene can stimulate the growth of neurons, while Polyethylene Glycol, or PEG as it’s often known has been shown, with limited success to heal damaged spinal cords in animals.
Building on these two strands of research, researchers at the university used their chemistry knowhow to combine graphene nanoribbons, which were stripped from larger carbon nanotubes, with PEG to produce the curiously named “Texas-PEG”. The amazing thing about this new material is that it acts as a much more potent “conductive scaffold” which helps to prompt the two ends of a severed spinal cord to repair and reconnect.
Most importantly though this isn’t just theoretical.
In a recent animal study involving a rat with a severed spinal cord, treatment with Texas-PEG restored some function within just 24 hours and after just two weeks, the same rat was well on its way to a full recovery, displaying “almost perfect motor control.”
While we’re still a good way away from translating this early research into an available treatment for spinal cord injuries in humans the research has been lauded by the groups peers as “too promising to be minimized.”