Molecular Strategies for Spinal Cord Remyelination
In addition, several diseases, most prominently multiple sclerosis
and the family of leukodystrophies, cause a loss of the myelin sheath
surrounding these neurons.
Spinal cord injury is most commonly associated in popular culture with actor Christopher Reeve, who was injured after being thrown from a horse in a 1995 accident. Demyelinating disorders may be best associated with Lorenzo Odone, the inspiration behind the 1992 movie Lorenzo's Oil.
A vital component of both treating spinal cord injury and curing demyelinating disease is promoting remyelination of new axons. Most promising techniques so far involve transplanting stem cells or neural precursor cells. However, stem cell research is still controversial due to ethical questions, and alternatives to stem cell therapies are currently being sought.