Purdue Licenses Anti-Paralysis Chemical

Purdue University (search) has given a medical firm access to polymer technology it developed that can prevent paralysis in dogs with recent spinal cord injuries (search).

Memphis-based Medtronic Sofamor Danek hopes its agreement with Purdue leads to human clinical trials to test whether the polymer can also help human spinal cord patients avoid permanent paralysis.

The nontoxic liquid polymer is composed of long strings of the same type of molecules found in antifreeze and form what researchers call "a molecular Band-Aid."

It forms a temporary seal over breaches in nerve cells in the spinal cord, aiding their healing process and preventing additional cell death.