Research kindles hope for spinal cord injury patients
New research led by a team from Monash University has revealed that a simple antibody could reverse the damage caused by trauma to the central nervous system.
After a severe neurotrauma event, such as a spinal cord injury, the body produces an inflammatory response that often leads to scarring, leading to permanent nerve damage.
Research led by the Monash University’s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) shows that a new antibody, created by the US therapeutic antibody company Lpath, effectively blocks the effects of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), which results in infflmation and nerve cell death in the immediate aftermath of a neurotrauma event.
The research team, led by Monash’s Dr Yona Goldsmit, found that by administering the antibody soon after the trauma, it was possible to preserve nerve damage and significantly reduce the amount of scarring, while substantially reducing the chance of losses in motor function.
"By blocking the effects of LPA, we can help nerve cells survive a traumatic injury and this will hopefully lead to better outcomes for patients in the future,” Dr Goldshmit said.
Dr Alice Pébay of CERA said that the study offered great hope for the future development of a pharmacological therapy for spinal cord injuries in humans.
“Perhaps this drug will one day be administered in the back of an ambulance, as the patient is being transported to hospital,” Dr Pébay said.