Nogo antibody study
Nogo is a protein that only occurs in the central nervous system and prevents nerve regeneration. However, anti-Nogo antibodies make damaged nerve fibres grow.
As part of a worldwide study with pharmaceutical company Novartis, we are currently running tests involving paralysed patients.
Prof. Dr. Armin Curt
FAQ on the Nogo antibody study
What is the Nogo antibody study actually about?
The study aims to prove that Nogo antibodies can make damaged nerve fibres regrow in humans (not just animals) and that this growth can lead to partial improvement of the bodys functions and sensitivity. At present, this medication is in an early clinical stage and is undergoing pharmacokinetic tests and tests for tolerance (to determine possible side-effects). Treatment involves injecting Nogo antibodies into the spinal fluid and must be administered within 14 days of the accident. The Nogo antibody study is being conducted in Switzerland in close cooperation between the Paraplegic Centre at Balgrist University Hospital, various trauma centres and Novartis. We are the testing centre for Switzerland - our clinic is the only one in Switzerland offering this treatment at present.
The Nogo antibody study is giving people hope. Can people in the acute stage of spinal paralysis be helped?
Unfortunately, we will currently have to disappoint anyone who is hoping that this may be a cure. At best, we can expect improvements to movement and sensitivity, which will be useful to paralysed people in their day-to-day lives. For example, a tetraplegic may require less assistance or a paraplegic may regain some sensitivity in paralysed body parts. For the time being, the aim of the Nogo antibody study is to test tolerance in humans and check for any side-effects.
Spinal paralysis affects the bladder and the bowel. Will there be positive effects on these parts of the body if the Nogo antibody works as expected?
Improvements in bladder function were observed during the animal tests. Only in later stages will we be able to assess whether are be similar improvements in humans.
I have spinal paralysis. Can I take part in the ongoing Nogo antibody study?
Our first condition for participation is that the paraplegic/tetraplegic patients must have sustained their injuries very recently (participation no more than 14 days after the accident). They must also meet other health-related criteria. Switzerland’s major trauma centres are aware of this study. If patients meet the conditions for participation, they and their friends and families are told about this opportunity by our investigators. Patients and their friends and families can contact our testing centre at any time. E-mail
Which departments of Balgrist University Hospital are involved in the Nogo antibody study?
This study requires close interdisciplinary cooperation. The research department of the Paraplegic Centre at Balgrist University Hospital is in charge of scientifically conducting the study and collecting data. Patients are cared for by the doctors and therapists of the Paraplegic Centre. Medication will be administered and post-operative checks will be performed by our spinal orthopaedics specialists.
Who should I ask any other questions on the subject?
Our testing centre would be happy to answer any questions by E-mail