Scientists say groundbreaking new gel treatment reverses paralysis in mice as researchers prepare to request FDA approval for human trials

Researchers say that a brand-new treatment has cured mice of paralysis after just four weeks of treatment, according to a release from Northwestern Now.

What are the details?

Citing scientific findings — which were published in journal Science on Thursday — researchers at Northwestern University stated that new injectable gel therapy is allowing previously paralyzed mice to walk again.

Scientists say that the groundbreaking gel, which is said to use synthetic nanofibers in order to mimic the natural environment around the spinal cord, is able to communicate with organic cells to promote regeneration.

A press release from Northwestern Now states, "Researchers found that intensifying the motion of molecules within the nanofibers led to greatly improved repair after injury."

"Cell receptors are in constant motion, so rapidly moving 'dancing molecules' can more effectively hit these moving targets," the release continued. "In an animal study, the therapy successfully regenerated axons of the cord's neurons, reduced scar tissue, promoted myelin growth, triggered blood vessel formation, and helped motor neurons survive."

As study co-author Samuel Stupp explained, "The key innovation in our research, which has never been done before, is to control the collective motion of more than 100,000 molecules within our nanofibers."

He added that the gel is especially designed to fine-tune the molecules' motion, which enables them to connect with receptors to promote healing and regeneration.

"Given that cells themselves and their receptors are in constant motion, you can imagine that molecules moving more rapidly would encounter these receptors more often," Stupp explained. "If the molecules are sluggish and not as 'social,' they may never come into contact with the cells."

In a new study from @SQInstitute director @SamuelStupp, researchers administered a single injection to tissues surrounding the spinal cords of paralyzed mice. \n\nJust four weeks later, the animals regained the ability to walk.\n\n\

— Northwestern Engineering (@NorthwesternEng) 1636661291

Dr. Zaida Álvarez, the study's first author, explained that the new gel promotes the molecules to last longer and promote the regeneration of the surrounding nerves.

“Our synthetic signals are short, modified peptides that — when bonded together by the thousands — will survive for weeks to deliver bioactivity," Álvarez explained. "The end result is a therapy that is less expensive to produce and lasts much longer."

According to a report from New Scientist, researchers injected 76 paralyzed mice with either the treatment or a saline solution one day after the injury's onset.

The gel, the report explained, enabled the paralyzed mice to walk by four weeks after the injection. Mice given the placebo solution did not regain their ability to walk.

“The extent of functional recovery and solid biological evidence of repair we observed using a model that truly emulates the severe human injury makes the therapy superior to other approaches," Stupp added.

Northwestern Engineering also shared the news on Thursday, and tweeting, "In a new study from @SQInstitute director @SamuelStupp, researchers administered a single injection to tissues surrounding the spinal cords of paralyzed mice. Just four weeks later, the animals regained the ability to walk."

The Daily Mail reported that researchers are now gearing up to request Food and Drug Administration approval for trial in humans.

Stupp, according to the outlet, wants the FDA to "approve human trials because the nervous system is highly similar across mammal species."

"There is nothing out there to help spinal cord injury patients, and this is a huge human problem," he explained.

Stupp added that he has high hopes to "move direct to human studies next without the need for further animal testing, such as on primates."

'"The challenge will be how the FDA will look at these therapies because they're completely new," Stupp concluded.

Severe spinal cord injuries repaired with 'dancing molecules'

Library is sorry after using 'racist' thin blue line imagery to promote Northwestern University police reform event

The Evanston Public Library in Evanston, Illinois, has issued an apology for using a "thin blue line" image to promote Northwestern University's police reform event.

Reports say that the imagery was used for signage and other materials promoting the forthcoming November event.

What are the details?

According to a Thursday report from The College Fix, the Evanston Public Library issued an apology after apparently conflating the "thin blue line" flag — which is typically flown or used to show support for law enforcement officials — with the police reform movement.

Northwestern University's Emeriti Organization, a group of retired professors from the university, plan to host a Nov. 2 event on police reform, which is titled "Police Reform: Progress and Pitfalls."

The group is set to discuss "realistic" police reform and police abuse.

The Fix reported that Prof. Emeritus Wesley Skogan of Northwestern University's Department of Political Science and Institute for Policy Research will headline the event.

A description page for the event reads, "Are police abuses endemic to the system? What are the realistic prospects for reform?"

Upon realizing its snafu, the library — which is co-sponsoring the organization's event — apologized for using "racist imagery in a display designed to promote" the upcoming event.

In a statement on the matter, a spokesperson for the library said, "We acknowledge the harm this image has caused our community, particularly for those who identify as black, indigenous, or POC. The library is committed to identifying, understanding, and rectifying our injustices past and current, as well as developing anti-racist policies and procedures that promote equity."

The statement added that all library staff will collaborate for a "more sensitive review of signage, programs, collections, policies, and procedures drafts for potentially offensive imagery before inclusion in displays."

— Evanston Public Lib. (@evanstonpl) 1633636878.0

What else?

The Daily Northwestern reported that the thin blue line flag is "sometimes used to show support for law enforcement," but claimed that the flag "also been linked to white nationalist and alt-right groups."

The Chicago Tribune reported that the offending imagery "appeared on signage as well as one of several books set out to promote the event."

After a library staffer complained about the images, library officials replaced the signage, removed the books, and issued their apology.

“We are very serious about our racial equity work and very serious about not wanting to cause harm or to hurt anyone," the library's executive director, Karen Danczak-Lyons, said. “This image can be and is harmful, so we apologized to our community."

Chicago Mayor Refuses To Be Interviewed By White Reporters

'I have been struck since my first day on the campaign trail back in 2018 by the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps.'

Northwestern University journalist says even the way white people walk on sidewalks is racist

Northwestern University's student newspaper recently published an article that reportedly asserted that "white people walk awkwardly on sidewalks" because of "internalized racism," according to a Wednesday report from Campus Reform.

What are the details?

Opinion editor Kenny Allen wrote the Daily Northwestern article, "Are the sidewalks at Northwestern too white, too?" which asked if white people walked on sidewalks certain ways because of racism.

“When I first got to Northwestern, I wondered why walking around on campus could be so frustrating," he wrote. "Even when sidewalks were relatively empty, I would often have to walk way around people to pass without bumping into them."

"At first," he reasoned, "I chalked it up to the geographic diversity of the school; maybe the people that came to this school were used to different ways of moving through a public place."

After discussing the problem with his other black friends, Allen said, he concluded that "people at this predominantly white school would not move out of our way on the sidewalk."

Pointing to University of Richmond sociologist Bedelia Richards' test to determine whether college campuses are racist, Allen concluded that internalized racism is what prompts white people to walk on sidewalks the way that they do in places such as Northwestern University.

Allen explained that such conclusions were connected to Jim Crow segregation laws.

"That social order required black people to yield to white people whenever possible," he wrote. "Black people were made to show deference to white people anytime they interacted. One of the ways they were made to do so was by stepping off the sidewalk when a white person was walking past. The informal rules are passed down through generations just like any other kind of etiquette.

"White people came to expect the right of way in public spaces," he continued. "White people who were accustomed to moving through the world like that — intentionally or not — taught their kids to move through the world in the same way. And the racism that undergirded Jim Crow wasn't eliminated just because the laws were no longer overtly racist."

What's next?

Allen concluded that it is this very practice that ought to prompt people to become more serious about "uprooting ... white supremacy."

"Many White people walk around campus having unknowingly absorbed this particular facet of white supremacy, and the leaders of the institution do little to make us believe that white supremacy is something worth challenging in the first place," he insisted.

"Uprooting that white supremacy requires both recognizing its scale and disrupting it however it shows up," he added — even if it shows up on the sidewalk next to you.

University 'cancels' author of essay who criticized references to Jill Biden as 'Dr': 'Sounds and feels fraudulent'

The author of an opinion essay that criticized references to Jill Biden, the wife of media-declared president-elect Joe Biden, as a "Dr." was summarily canceled from his associations with Northwestern University.

What happened?

Joseph Epstein, an author who was previously a lecturer at Northwestern, argued in an essay for the Wall Street Journal that Jill Biden should not receive the honorary title because her doctorate is neither in medicine nor science, but in education.

In his essay — which was titled, "Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D." — Epstein wrote:

Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the "Dr." before your name? "Dr. Jill Biden" sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic. Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title "Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students' Needs." A wise man once said that no one should call himself "Dr." unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.

After all, Epstein went on to argue, the process of earning a Ph.D. is not as strenuous as it once was, therefore it is not deserving of the same prestige.

"The Ph.D. may once have held prestige, but that has been diminished by the erosion of seriousness and the relaxation of standards in university education generally, at any rate outside the sciences," Epstein wrote.

How did Northwestern respond?

Epstein's essay was circulated widely on Saturday, generating a tsunami of backlash, both against Epstein, who was accused of being sexist, and against the Wall Street Journal, which was criticized for publishing Epstein's opinion.

Northwestern also received criticism — likely because Epstein identified himself as having "taught at Northwestern University for 30 years" — and the university eventually responded.

In a statement, the Chicago-area university distanced itself from any associations with Epstein, calling his views "misogynistic."

"Joseph Epstein was never a tenured professor at Northwestern and has not been a lecturer here since 2002," the university said.

"While we firmly support academic freedom and freedom of expression, we do not agree with Mr. Epstein's opinion and believe the designation of doctor is well deserved by anyone who has earned a Ph.D., an Ed.D. or an M.D.," the statement continued. "Northwestern is firmly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, and strongly disagrees with Mr. Epstein's misogynistic views."

Northwestern also removed Epstein's profile from its website. Earlier on Saturday, Epstein was identified as an "emeritus lecturer" at Northwestern.

It appears Northwestern University's English Department has removed Joseph Epstein's profile from its website. Ea…
— David Gura (@David Gura)1607834363.0