A new flexible medical device is allowing paralyzed rats to walk again without rejecting the implant, which could be the breakthrough researchers have been looking for.
European researchers have created e-Dura implants, "a thin prosthetic ribbon, embedded with electrodes, which lies along the spinal cord and delivers electrical impulses and drugs," according to The Telegraph.
The device is soft, allowing it to bend and avoid discomfort, not be rejected by the body and researchers predict would not have to be replaced for 10 years.
The Telegraph wrote of the significance, "this is the first study to show a simple gadget can help rats walk again and be tolerated by the body."
"This opens up new therapeutic possibilities for patients suffering from neurological trauma or disorders, particularly individuals who have become paralyzed following spinal cord injury," Professor Stéphanie Lacour told The Telegraph.
According to the report, the device "imitates the mechanical properties of living tissue, and can simultaneously deliver electric impulses and drugs which activate cells."
Researchers hope to start clinical trials in humans within the next few years.