New Drug May Help Those with Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are a significant problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 200,000 people in the United States are currently living with an SCI. Experts estimate that an additional 12,000 to 20,000 people suffer an SCI each year. A spinal cord injury can result in permanent neurologic impairment in any body system affected by the injured nerves, including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal systems. Because these injuries are permanent, they often require ongoing medical treatment: experts estimate that the medical costs associated with SCIs can be anywhere from $500,000 to $3million over a lifetime, depending on the severity of the injury.

New Drug Shows Promise

Although there is currently no cure for spinal cord injuries, doctors are working to develop treatments that will allow patients to regain as much mobility as possible. Recently, researchers at Ohio State University discovered that an experimental drug, known as LM11A-31, was able to help mice regain their mobility after they had suffered an SCI. The drug works by blocking a protein released after a spinal cord injury that destroys the nerve cells protecting axons, the structures that help transmit motor impulses from the brain to the body. LM11A-31 is particularly significant because it is able to pass the blood-brain barrier, a naturally occurring partition between the brain and the body’s circulatory system that protects brain cells from potentially harmful blood-borne substances. Although the barrier is an important part of the brain’s natural defenses, it can prevent the efficient delivery of helpful drugs.

Four hours after their injuries, the mice in the study began receiving LM11A-31 and the course of treatment lasted for 42 days. The mice that received the highest dose of the drug were able to regain the ability to move their limbs in a coordinated fashion. Although further study is needed, researchers are hopeful that the drug will prove as effective in human patients.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or other catastrophic injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can assess your case and help you get the fair and adequate compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. For more information about what a personal injury attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.