Recovery from acute spinal cord injury is unfortunately very limited and at present there are no medications available to treat the damaged spinal cord. Until now, rehabilitation has always been the most effective way of treating patients with spinal cord injuries. New medications with antibodies could be the breakthrough and allow the first real therapy for damaged nerves in the spinal cord.
For the first time, it seems possible to improve the recovery of nerve function using a medication that also helps patients recover considerably better. The new antibodies, an endogenous inhibitor,(Nogo-A protein), which prevents growth and regeneration of nerve fibres, can be blocked in humans. The treatment aims to improve the regeneration and plasticity of the nerve fibres so that they can reunite. This should considerably improve both the motor and sensory functions and the patient’s quality of life.
This antibody therapy is currently being tested in a clinical trial that is being conducted across Europe, which is looking at patients in the first few weeks of an accident causing tetraplegia. Prof. Armin Curt, Director of the Spinal Cord injury Centre at Balgrist University Hospital, is coordinating the project.
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