Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Unfortunately the human body is not always perfect and does not always work properly, and even sometimes generates forms of abnormal cells called cancer. Research on cancer has become one of the most interesting and mind bottling experiences in science. Taxol, generic name paclitaxel, is one of the drugs that were lab generated to treat various types of cancer such as, breast cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer. But what if you could use one drug for two different causes?

Researchers claim that Taxol is able to reduce the deterioration of the cytoskeleton in injuries of the spinal chord. You see, when someone completely injures their spinal cord, the vertebrae is dislocated and/or damages that are made to pieces of the vertebrae will be misplaced in cord tissue and they will press down on nerves that carry signals which will result in the cord not being able to pass messages below the area of the injury and the person will end up paralyzed.

Through lab research on rats, scientists have come up with the idea that small amounts of Taxol can stabilize microtubules and also reduce the scar tissue formed so that neurons can pass through the injury area and make the connection necessary for complete healing. The drug has only been tested on recent injuries and researchers say that the next step could be testing the drug on older spinal cord injuries. Talk about a scientific advantage! Making two unfortunate scenarios into treatable, and potentially curable situations.

Article can be found here

Posted by Cleopatra Duque (1)


  1. This drug Taxol seems like it can do everything. I wonder if there are any adverse side effects that result from a person taking this drug that could pose a risk for someone with a spinal injury. Either way, it would be pretty amazing if this drug is the key to repairing damaged nerves which could grant someone with the ability to do something they may have never experienced before, the ability to walk with their own two feet.

    Posted by Kevin McLaughlin

  2. This article makes Taxol (Paclitaxel) seem like a pretty amazing drug, one that can treat both cancer AND spinal cord injuries! This is really exciting, and hopefully researchers will immediately begin testing on older spinal cord injuries in rats…so that humans can soon be the test subjects. If, in fact, Taxol could be used to reduce scar tissue’s barrier function and lessen cytoskeletal deterioration in humans in humans, as well as to treat different types of cancer, this drug would really be something to talk about. It would finally give hope to both paraplegics and quadriplegics that they may actually walk again. Knowing both paraplegics and quadriplegics well, this really hits home. It will certainly be exciting to see where this research goes and how this treatment works on humans.

    Posted by Derek Melzar

  3. I think this is really quite amazing that one drug has two remarkable capabilities. And in fact, it seems likely that if more research is performed on this drug that has the capability of stabilizing nerve cells that it could probably serve other useful functions. It would be interesting if other researchers shifted their approach on drug research to one that involved looking at the bigger picture of drugs' functions and perhaps finding areas where one drug serves multiple purposes. Using drugs that have already been approved and tested would most likely save researchers both time and money and allow them to focus on problems that have not been solved.

    Posted by Brianna Lee

  4. Wow, that's a pretty exciting development for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. Some of the primary obstacles for the recovery of patients with injuries to their CNS could potentially be alleviated if these claims are true. A huge dilemma for neurologists has always been that the glial cells primarily responsible for supplementing the healing process in damaged neurons, astrocytes, are also responsible for the formation of the scar tissue that makes recovery virtually impossible.

    If Taxol stimulates both cytoskeleton growth and inhibits scar tissue formation, this will definitely be one of the bigger pharmacological developments of the year.

  5. The above comment was posted by me.

  6. “We try to provoke the cells to ignore the stop signs so that they regrow.” -Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried

    It would certainly be amazing if this research comes through to help with 2 different problems.. and the biggest problem right now is what they are finding the injured cells are doing.. these cells are stopping their regeneration as if there were "stop signs" along the way. Scientists are trying to understand why exactly these cells act this way. I they can understand that question they can figure out if Taxol would be worthwhile humans.

    As for the side effects, they have not named any yet, however, of course, like most (if not all) drugs have them. I believe many things in science research is about taking a chance or having a chance. If you are in a wheelchair and you have two options, either to stay in the wheelchair for the rest of your life or to take a chance with this new research, well it will really be up to the person, but I believe most would take that chance!

    Cleopatra D.