An elastic implant has been described by experts as a ‘ground-breaking achievement of technology’ after it restored movement in paralysed rats and gave them the ability to walk again.

Scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have adapted existing technology to create a flexible implant made from elastic silicone. This flexibility allows the implant to move with the spine, providing both electrical and chemical stimulation.

The elastic implant has successfully worked in rats for around two months, making it one of the longest lasting spinal cord injury implants to date.

Researchers hope that the technology will ultimately be transferrable to humans, potentially providing spinal injury patients with the prospect of regaining their ability to walk. However, it will be a lengthy transitional process to properly develop the technology for human use.

Serious injury solicitor, Lisa Gunner, based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Bristol office, said: “The pace of developments in new technology and treatments for people suffering with a spinal cord injury are potentially life changing. From cell transplants to spinal stimulation these are exciting times.

“Frustratingly, while they need to be fully tested, the treatments are not going to be available anytime very soon and will likely take years to develop but they offer real hope to people who have lost the ability to walk after suffering a spinal cord injury.

“At Thompsons, we are immensely excited about the new technology, the developments and the potential for treatment. Together with our client support coordinators we will be following the progress of this latest news with great interest.”