Anne Baron-Van Evercooren, Hopital Pitié Salpetrière, Paris, France

Therapeutic potential of transplanted, modified Schwann cells

Funded in: 2006, 2007

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If the myelin layer - the insulation sheath around nerve fibres - is injured, then the affected nerve is no longer functional. Transplantation of myelin producing Schwann cells (i.e. sustentacular and sheath cells) can regenerate the myelin sheath. Normally, however, Schwann cells are not mobile and have limited suitability for the treatment of sick and injured nerve fibres whose myelin sheath was destroyed. This research project uses genetically modified Schwann cells. They “move” faster and are thus more mobile. The study is trying to find out whether the use of such modified Schwann cells is of value to re-establish the function of still connected but “naked” nerve fibres.