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Enzyme Treatment Could Improve Recovery From Spinal Cord Injury




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#1 Apparelyzed

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 03:00 PM

Enzyme treatment could improve recovery from spinal cord injury

In a study on rodents, scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that spinal cord treatment with an enzyme, sialidase, can improve nerve regrowth, motor recovery and nervous system function.

Once damaged, nerves in the spinal cord normally cannot grow back and the only drug approved for treating these injuries does not enable nerve regrowth.

But in the new study, researchers showed remarkable improvement on treating injured rat spinal cords with sialidase.

"This is the first functional study showing behavioural improvement below a spinal cord injury by the delivery of sialidase. Sialidase has properties that are appealing from the human drug development point of view," said Dr. Ronald Schnaar, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins.

Sialidase is a bacterial enzyme that removes specific chemical groups found on the surface of nerve cells.

The chemical groups normally function to stabilise the cells, but also act to prevent nerve regeneration.

The team built upon earlier research where they discovered that sialidase treatment improved the growth of nerves into a graft.

"We wanted to take this further and look at the animal model most relevant to human spinal cord injury. Typically, in motor vehicle accidents for example, vertebra shift and pinch the spinal cord, severing the long spinal nerve axons like you would if you pinched a piece of wet spaghetti," says Schnaar.

So they treated rats after a spinal cord impact injury by injecting sialidase directly to the injury site.

Rats with lower-back impact injury - severe enough to lose hind-limb function - were injected with sialidase directly over the spinal cord immediately following injury.

The researchers then implanted into each rat a small pump that delivered a steady stream of sialidase directly to the injury over the course of two weeks, hoping that bathing the injured nerves in the enzyme would help their recovery and promote regrowth.

They then let the rats recover for another three weeks before assessing the degree of recovery.

Using a well-established, 21-point scale where zero represents paralysis and 21 is normal function, the team of researchers assessed treated and untreated rats for a range of functions including whether they could lift their feet off the ground and whether they had coordinated leg movements.

The initial injury rendered all rats to score below four, and all rats, treated or not, recovered somewhat by the end of two weeks.

By the end of five weeks after injury most untreated rats scored 12 or less, while most treated rats scored better than 15.

"The difference in coordination control was most remarkable," said Schnaar.

In addition to motor control, spinal cord injury can cause other nervous system problems, including losing the ability to control blood pressure and heart rate.

To see if sialidase treatment improved nerve connections enough to remedy these problems, the team measured the nerve circuits that control blood pressure in treated and untreated rats.

They found that treated animals improved blood pressure control.

"We interpret this as improved communication in the spinal cord," said Schnaar.

Finally, the team looked at the nerve ends under a microscope and found that indeed, treated nerves showed an increased number of "sprouted" nerve ends, which according to Schnaar, provided anatomical evidence to add to the functional evidence that "something is going on."

"The positive is that we have shown functional recovery in a relevant animal model of spinal cord injury. That being said, we haven't done full toxicity studies on these rats, which definitely needs to be done before we think about taking the long road into using this as a drug in people; efficacy in animals also doesn't necessarily translate to humans," said Schnaar.

The study was published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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#2 Smileyblue

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 04:19 PM

Interesting read, and hope for the newly injured.. ;-)

(I have a question, but should probably post it in another thread, lest I jack this one..) ;-)

What's important is not what happens to us, but how we react to what happens to us..
God gave us two ends, one to think with, n one to sit on.. Success depends on which one u use.. Heads you win, tails u lose..


#3 Gimptafied

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 03:13 PM

Not to be a downer but I heard about this when I was hurt in 1998. Still waiting for it to move beyond rats. :girl_devil:

#4 chrisarnold6

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 09:37 AM

Enzyme treatment could improve recovery from spinal cord injury

In a study on rodents, scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that spinal cord treatment with an enzyme, sialidase, can improve nerve regrowth, motor recovery and nervous system function.

Once damaged, nerves in the spinal cord normally cannot grow back and the only drug approved for treating these injuries does not enable nerve regrowth.

But in the new study, researchers showed remarkable improvement on treating injured rat spinal cords with sialidase.

"This is the first functional study showing behavioural improvement below a spinal cord injury by the delivery of sialidase. Sialidase has properties that are appealing from the human drug development point of view," said Dr. Ronald Schnaar, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins.

Sialidase is a bacterial enzyme that removes specific chemical groups found on the surface of nerve cells.

The chemical groups normally function to stabilise the cells, but also act to prevent nerve regeneration.

The team built upon earlier research where they discovered that sialidase treatment improved the growth of nerves into a graft.

"We wanted to take this further and look at the animal model most relevant to human spinal cord injury. Typically, in motor vehicle accidents for example, vertebra shift and pinch the spinal cord, severing the long spinal nerve axons like you would if you pinched a piece of wet spaghetti," says Schnaar.

So they treated rats after a spinal cord impact injury by injecting sialidase directly to the injury site.

Rats with lower-back impact injury - severe enough to lose hind-limb function - were injected with sialidase directly over the spinal cord immediately following injury.

The researchers then implanted into each rat a small pump that delivered a steady stream of sialidase directly to the injury over the course of two weeks, hoping that bathing the injured nerves in the enzyme would help their recovery and promote regrowth.

They then let the rats recover for another three weeks before assessing the degree of recovery.

Using a well-established, 21-point scale where zero represents paralysis and 21 is normal function, the team of researchers assessed treated and untreated rats for a range of functions including whether they could lift their feet off the ground and whether they had coordinated leg movements.

The initial injury rendered all rats to score below four, and all rats, treated or not, recovered somewhat by the end of two weeks.

By the end of five weeks after injury most untreated rats scored 12 or less, while most treated rats scored better than 15.

"The difference in coordination control was most remarkable," said Schnaar.

In addition to motor control, spinal cord injury can cause other nervous system problems, including losing the ability to control blood pressure and heart rate.

To see if sialidase treatment improved nerve connections enough to remedy these problems, the team measured the nerve circuits that control blood pressure in treated and untreated rats.

They found that treated animals improved blood pressure control.

"We interpret this as improved communication in the spinal cord," said Schnaar.

Finally, the team looked at the nerve ends under a microscope and found that indeed, treated nerves showed an increased number of "sprouted" nerve ends, which according to Schnaar, provided anatomical evidence to add to the functional evidence that "something is going on."

"The positive is that we have shown functional recovery in a relevant animal model of spinal cord injury. That being said, we haven't done full toxicity studies on these rats, which definitely needs to be done before we think about taking the long road into using this as a drug in people; efficacy in animals also doesn't necessarily translate to humans," said Schnaar.

The study was published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)


'Fraid I have to agree with Gymptafied. Since surfing the net, after my injury (2008), I have seen "new hope" ... and some of the items are more than 10 years old!

#5 gunsmokeak74

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:37 AM

i have been injured since 1995 and i swear every couple of years these quaks claim to have made a lab rat walk again,how many times do they have to test a freakin rat before helping a human regain 1 ounce of function, every couple of years also they claim some new assistive adaptive technology will help make the lives of disabled persons better they show all these feel good stories on the news and u never hear about any of the products ever again.


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