Systemically treating spinal cord injury

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Science  17 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6232, pp. 285-286
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1615

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Spinal cord injury is a debilitating condition. Axons of nerve cells are severed, resulting in a range of deficits, including the loss of voluntary movements and sensation. Failure of axonal regeneration after such an injury may be partly explained by a decreased intrinsic capacity for neuron growth, especially at the lesion site (1). On page 347 in this issue, Ruschel et al. (2) show that this inhibition can be overcome with a small molecule that can be injected into the body cavity, cross the bloodbrain barrier, and reach the central nervous system. The drug, epothilone B, stabilizes microtubules in extending axons, thereby promoting spinal cord regeneration.