And cooling therapy may be just part of treatments needed to help someone with severe spinal injury make a full recovery.
"As a neurosurgeon, I would say it would require a multidisciplinary approach," said Dr. Jason Huang of the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Huang said that ultimately therapy would probably include some surgery and other interventions immediately after injury, rehabilitation afterward, and possibly stem cell therapy in the end stages of treatment.
"I think you need a multiple team approach, not just one single one, but this could be a very exciting one," he said.
Noting that the current research was following up on earlier findings from the same investigators about the course of paralysis following spinal injury, Huang said, "It's not a breakthrough investigation, but it's definitely an important one along that line of investigation."
But, he added, "I think there's still a way to go for a clinical trial."
In addition to having another lab replicate the study's findings, Huang explained that researchers would need to determine dosage of a drug and the window in which it would need to be given following spinal injury.
"It's a very long road," Howley agreed. "It's not a breezy pathway, by any means."
But, she added, "We'll look forward to what we're going to hear from these investigators in the future."