Nav: Home

Gene medication to help treat spinal cord injuries

March 18, 2019

The two-gene medication has been proven to recover motor functions in rats. After several months of treatment, rodents were able to use previously paralyzed limbs. Researchers at Kazan Federal University are now seeking pre-clinical trial investment.

One of the problems with spinal cord injuries is that after they occur, a connective tissue cicatrix forms around them. This prevents further growth of axons. The research group wants to decrease cicatrix growth speed and stimulate regeneration of axons.

The two genes in questions are VEGF and FGF2. The first one is proven to normalize blood flow after traumas, support neuron survivability, and stimulate vessel and axon growth. The second one is a growth factor with neurotrophic activity, i. e. one that helps develop nervous fibers.

Head of Gene and Cell Technologies Lab of Kazan University Albert Rizvanov comments, "No changes in human DNA occur; both of these genes are present in humans already. We just inject additional copies of active genes in the organism, with injections being targeted above and below the injury location. Thus, we modify a part of nervous cells and 'program' them for increased growth and regeneration."

As for animal testing, rats were injured in a specific location on the spinal cord to make them lose sensitivity in lower limbs. After that, the gene compound was tested on one group, and the other group was left to recover without intervention.

Control group representatives somewhat recovered after two months - they were able to bend joints. However, they could not move freely or support body weight. The test group, conversely, was able to stand on all limbs, walk around, and control the movements of all four limbs.

Senior Research Associate of the same lab Yana Mukhamedshina adds, "Apart from this gene medication, we have tested mesenchymal stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Both results are promising and show that we can recover injured spinal cords in large animals, such as pigs, and further in humans as well."

Although the genes are present in humans, there is still some element of risk, opines Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine of Sechenov University Andrey Zamyatnin.

"This genetic construction uses regulatory elements that are absent in human organism. Their influence on humans is unpredictable. That's why clinical trials are needed to prove this medication's safety," says he.
-end-
Meanwhile, pre-clinical trials are expected to launch within this year after funding is secured.

Kazan Federal University

Related Spinal Cord Articles:

Spinal cord gives bio-bots walking rhythm
Miniature biological robots are making greater strides than ever, thanks to the spinal cord directing their steps.
Co-delivery of IL-10 and NT-3 to enhance spinal cord injury repair
Spinal cord injury (SCI) creates a complex microenvironment that is not conducive to repair; growth factors are in short supply, whereas factors that inhibit regeneration are plentiful.
Locomotor engine in the spinal cord revealed
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have revealed a new principle of organization which explains how locomotion is coordinated in vertebrates akin to an engine with three gears.
Neurological signals from the spinal cord surprise scientists
With a study of the network between nerve and muscle cells in turtles, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have gained new insight into the way in which movements are generated and maintained.
An 'EpiPen' for spinal cord injuries
An injection of nanoparticles can prevent the body's immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis.
From spinal cord injury to recovery
Spinal cord injury disconnects communication between the brain and the spinal cord, disrupting control over part of the body.
Transplanting adult spinal cord tissues: A new strategy of repair spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injury repair is one of the most challenging medical problems, and no effective therapeutic methods has been developed.
Gene medication to help treat spinal cord injuries
The two-gene medication has been proven to recover motor functions in rats.
Spinal cord is 'smarter' than previously thought
New research from Western University has shown that the spinal cord is able to process and control complex functions, like the positioning of your hand in external space.
The lamprey regenerates its spinal cord not just once -- but twice
Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) scientists report that lampreys can regenerate the spinal cord and recover function after the spinal cord has been severed not just once, but twice in the same location.
More Spinal Cord News and Spinal Cord Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.