A new therapy to regenerate the spinal cord

Leonor Saúde

Project awarded in collaboration with the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia


    Leonor Saúde


    Instituto de Medicina Molecular (Lisboa), Portugal


    Spinal cord injury has very serious and often irreversible consequences, ranging from chronic pain to paralysis depending on the level of the injury. Falls and traffic accidents are the most frequent cause of this type of injury and mainly affect young people. Although many efforts have been made to find effective therapies, spinal cord injury continues to drastically diminish the quality of life of sufferers and their families, at a very high cost to society.

    In humans, as in all other mammals, there is no regeneration of the injured spinal cord. On the other hand, other species such as the zebrafish have an astonishing ability to recover mobility and sensitivity thanks to the stimulation of the cells around the lesion, a repair mechanism that has been little studied until now.

    The project focuses on analyzing the role of senescence, traditionally associated with cellular aging, in spinal cord regeneration. The accumulation of senescent cells in the injured area, which does not occur in zebrafish, would hinder the ability to recover after a spinal cord injury in humans. Understanding this process may open the door to new spinal cord regeneration therapies.


    Targeting induced-senescent cells: a novel approach to promote spinal cord regeneration in mammals