New Drug Could Treat Spinal Injuries

Nerve-Growing Drug Offers Hope To Those With Paralysing Injuries

05.12.2014

A drug that encourages nerve growth could give new hope to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injuries.

Research into the drug ISP is still at an early stage, but rats with damaged spines regained their ability to walk and bladder control after being injected with it in laboratory tests.

It works by blocking a natural enzyme that stops the growth of spinal nerve fibres in parts of the body affected by scarring. Nerves regrew across injured areas and the rats regained their ability to walk in a matter of weeks.

The research is significant because until now, there have been no available drug therapies that can improve natural recovery from spinal cord injuries.

One of the study leaders, Professor Jerry Silver of Case Western Reserve University, called the results "very promising".

"We now have an agent that may work alone or in combination with other treatments to improve the lives of many," he added.

Expert Opinion
The early stages of this pioneering treatment that could assist those with spinal cord injuries is fantastic and brings hope that one day doctors will be able to offer further help to aid recovery and rehabilitation.

"While it is of course very early days, it will be interesting to see research and work in this area develop and whether treatments, which can help those with spinal cord injuries carry out tasks they thought were beyond them, will become widely available.

"Spinal injuries can completely transform a person’s life in terms of their independence, family life, work and many other areas. However, this new nerve-growing drug could be an important and ground-breaking step towards reversing the effects of paralysis."
Colin Ettinger, Partner