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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.”

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future.” Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, CNBC, Discovery, RT, and Viacom, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring several Education and Lunar XPrize teams, building the first generation of biological computers and re-envisioning global education with the G20, and helping the world’s largest conglomerates ideate the next 20 years of intelligent devices and machines. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Bain & Co, BCG, BOA, Blackrock, Bentley, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, Du Pont, E&Y, HPE, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, UBS, and many more.

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