Researchers found new mechanisms that enable the regeneration of nerve fibers, which could open up new treatment approaches for the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord injuries. The brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves are referred to collectively as the central nervous system. The nerve fibers, called axons, are unable to grow back following injury, meaning that damage is permanent. It is possible to partially restore the regenerative capacity of nerve cells in the central nervous system by eliminating the inhibiting protein PTEN. However, a knockout of this kind also triggers many different reactions in the cells at the same time, which often lead to cancer.
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