Albany Medical College wins $1.9M grant to study nerve damage

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scientists study nerve damage repair

Jacob Herron, Sophie Belin, and Yannick Poitelon study nerve damage repair (Source: Albany Medical College)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Researchers at Albany Medical College received a $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Sophie Belin and Yannick Poitelon, researchers who both hold doctorates, won the grant to study ways of repairing peripheral nerve damage, also known as neuropathy.

Over 20 million Americans suffer from neuropathy, which causes numbness, burning pain, loss of balance, weakness, paralysis, and organ dysfunction. Aside from amputation, no current preventions or cures are effective, and treatment options only relieve pain.

“Little is known about how peripheral nerves sense and respond to injury,” says Poitelon, a neuroscience professor. “Based on the research done here in our laboratory, we are finding that we need to rethink some of the previously accepted premises about cell biology.”

Funded research at Albany Medical College will focus on Schwann cells in the nervous system, which insulate neurons to ensure they survive. Researchers will attempt to manipulate Schwann cells to improve the insulation process, thereby helping damaged nerves regenerate.

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