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Q: Brain and spine injury ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Brain and spine injury
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: jflower-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 22 Sep 2004 17:18 PDT
Expires: 22 Oct 2004 17:18 PDT
Question ID: 405047
What are the leading edge experimental therapies for dealing with
injuries to the brain or spine? I am aware of the work of the Dobelle
Institute, and of course of the work funded by Christopher Reeve. What
else is being done? I especially prize work that has pictures attached
to it, since this is for a presentation.
Subject: Re: Brain and spine injury
Answered By: adiloren-ga on 22 Sep 2004 19:26 PDT
Hello, thank you for the question. I have outlined the major
innovations in the treatment of brain and spinal chord injuries below.
I hope this helps. Please don't hesitate to request clarification if


Laser Treatment:

BBC Monitoring International Reports
June 19, 2004

"Doctors say this is a real breakthrough in treating spinal diseases,
osteochondritis and deformation of the intervertebral discs. In place
of difficult and dangerous surgical intervention, this is a virtually
painless procedure. The diseased section of the vertebrae is radiated
by laser using a special needle and pipe, and in the place of the disk
which has been destroyed by the disease, the organism starts to yield
healthy cells and a new intervertebral disk grows by itself."

"About 150 operations have now been done using the new method, and
most of these have been deemed very successful. Doctors are convinced
this technology can help a lot of people. The number of people with
spinal disease is going up with every year, and there are more and
more young people amongst them."

Magnetic Treatment:

Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week
June 6, 2004
HEADLINE: SPINAL CORD INJURY: Magnetic treatment may help people with
spinal cord damage

<<Writing in the May 2004 issue of Spinal Cord, a team of U.K. doctors
described how patients with incomplete spinal cord injuries received
repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rS), leading to
improvements in their ability to move muscles and limbs, and ability
to feel sensations.

rS uses an electromagnet placed on the scalp to generate brief
magnetic pulses, about the strength of an MRI scan, which stimulate
the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. Incomplete spinal
cord injuries are a type of spinal injury where the spinal cord has
not been entirely severed, but the patient has still lost the ability
to move or feel properly below the injury point.

Dr. Nick Davey from Imperial College London and Charing Cross
Hospital, and one of the study's authors, said, "Through rS we may be
able to help people who have suffered partial injuries to the spinal
cord recover some of their movement and feeling. We think it works by
strengthening the information leaving the brain through the undamaged
neurons in the spinal cord. It may work like physiotherapy but instead
of repeating a physical task, the machine activates the surviving
nerves to strengthen their connections.">>

Law & Health Weekly
June 5, 2004
HEADLINE: IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: Magnetic treatment may help people
with spinal cord damage

<<A preliminary study has shown for the first time that it may be
possible to help people who have suffered partial damage to their
spinal cord by applying a magnetic therapy to their brain.

Writing in the May 2004 issue of Spinal Cord, a team of U.K. doctors
described how patients with incomplete spinal cord injuries received
repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rS), leading to
improvements in their ability to move muscles and limbs, and ability
to feel sensations.

rS uses an electromagnet placed on the scalp to generate brief
magnetic pulses, about the strength of an MRI scan, which stimulate
the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. Incomplete spinal
cord injuries are a type of spinal injury where the spinal cord has
not been entirely severed, but the patient has still lost the ability
to move or feel properly below the injury point.>>

Mental Health Business Week
June 5, 2004

<<The researchers from Imperial College London, the National Spinal
Injuries Center, Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital
tested rS on four patients with incomplete spinal injuries. The
patients had all sustained their injuries at least 18 months
previously and had already received conventional rehabilitation
including physiotherapy. They were all considered stable in that they
were no longer undergoing natural improvement. The patients received
both real and sham rS treatment over a 3-week period. The rS treatment
involved five consecutive days of magnetic stimulation for 1 hour per

They noticed no difference between the baseline and the sham
treatment, but found that the rS treatment resulted in a 37.5 plusmn8%
drop in intracortical inhibition, compared with normal physiotherapy.
Weaker intracortical inhibition makes it easier for messages from the
brain to pass down the spinal cord to the rest of the body. This
reduction in intracortical inhibition was accompanied by improvement
in both motor and sensory function, which lasted for at least 3 weeks
after the treatment. Reduced intracortical inhibition also occurs
naturally and can facilitate functional recovery, and this is
reflected in improvements to the patients' ability to move and feel.>>

Exercise Therapy:

May 25, 2004

"A study undertaken by a team at University College, London, has
produced some exciting results, that could have implications for the
treatment and rehabilitation of the 100,000 people in the UK who
suffer disability, following stroke or spinal cord injury, each year.

Dr Nick Donaldson heads the team which recently completed a six-month
Action Medical Research study to test the effectiveness of a special
exercise treatment, where electronic pulses are applied to patients'

Muscle stimulation is nothing new of course - Superman actor
Christopher Reeve is perhaps the best known patient trying muscle
stimulation technology to regain mobility - but rather than rely on
electrical impulse alone, the UCL team has tried to identify how much
voluntary effort the patients is using in pushing a pedal during
cycling exercise.

It is a difficult measurement to obtain, but identifying this
voluntary effort is important because the team hopes that a
combination of voluntary movement, enhanced by electrical muscle
stimulation, holds the key to new treatments and more effective

Experimental Surgeries:

NPSA advises on spinal injury patients, UK
Medical News Today, UK - Sep 17, 2004

Scientists make breakthrough in spinal injury repair
ABC Online, Australia - Sep 17, 2004

Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week
May 9, 2004
HEADLINE: SPINAL INJURIES: Spinal injury rehabilation center to offer
new treatments

"The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan will open a center this
summer offering new therapies to help spinal cord injury patients
regain some sensation and movement after years of paralysis.

The center, unlike any in the United States, also will evaluate
hundreds of spinal cord patients for 2 experimental operations abroad
and oversee their rehabilitation in Detroit.

"The foreign procedures, not practiced in the United States, use cells
taken from the olfactory bulb, above the ridge of the nose. The cells
have been shown to regenerate other nerve cells. The cells are
inserted near the spinal cord.

In China, the cells are taken from aborted fetuses. In Portugal, the
cells come from the patient.

Both procedures are new and promising, but are not yet studied well
enough to understand the benefits and risks of the operations. Fewer
than 400 people have undergone the operations in the past 3 years."

Nursing Home & Elder Business Week
March 28, 2004
spinal injury recovery

<<Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can have devastating consequences that
are difficult to reverse. Researchers are actively pursuing ways to
restore movement and sensation to SCI patients.

Blocking a protein involved in cell death could be one way to treat
SCIs, according to a report in the April 2004 issue of Nature

Oncology Business Week
March 28, 2004

<<Ana Martin-Villalba and coworkers at the German Cancer Research
Center, Heidelberg, targeted a protein called CD95L, part of a system
that causes cells to self-destruct. Patients' prognoses depend in part
on how much secondary damage is caused by this cell-death system. The
researchers simulated injuries in patients by cutting the spinal cords
of mice and paralyzing them. When the researchers used antibodies to
block CD95L, significantly fewer cells died, and the injured nerve
cells were able to regenerate, allowing the once-paralyzed mice to
recover their motor ability.

Treatment of SCI is a complex problem that will probably require
multiple therapies, but the authors suggested that blocking CD95L
might be one potential treatment.>>

Extension gives hope to spinal injury victims
Tri-Valley Herald, CA - Sep 16, 2004,1413,86~10671~2405405,00.html

Pain Relief:

Mental Health Law Weekly
March 27, 2004

<<A potent neurotoxin can be used to zap rogue nerve cells responsible
for triggering chronic pain after paralyzing spinal cord injury in
rats, an approach scientists have labeled molecular neurosurgery,
University of Florida (UF) researchers report.>>

<<Similar studies conducted elsewhere have used the same molecular
neurosurgery approach to successfully treat other types of pain
originating from peripheral nerve damage or from inflammation. The UF
study was the first to try the technique to treat pain of a central

"Spinal cord injury is an extraordinarily complicated set of events
that leads frequently to severe pain states that often are very
difficult to manage," said Tony Yaksh, PhD, a professor and vice
chairman for research in anesthesiology at the University of
California, San Diego.>>

Biotech Week
March 24, 2004
pain-transmitting nerve cells in injured rats

<<"Dr. Yezierski's paper looking at the effects of spinal delivery of
this toxin promises a novel approach to an otherwise very
difficult-to-manage disorder," Yaksh said. "Of course, there's a lot
of work that remains to be done, but in one fell swoop it provides
significant insight into the mechanisms of this disorder, that is to
say, targeting this specific site for the toxin to act in the spinal
cord, and it provides the possibility of a therapeutic intervention.
We ourselves are involved in studying the safety of substance
P-saporin in other animal models, and there is a good likelihood that
this new peptide may in fact find its way into humans for therapeutic
treatment of a variety of complicated pain states. Dr. Yezierski's
study seems to point directly to the importance of this mechanism in
pain secondary to spinal cord injury.">>

Drug Treatments:

Drug Week
September 10, 2004
Pharma company receives FDA orphan drug designation for Dexanabinol

<<Pharmos Corporation (NASDAQ:PARS) announced that the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) granted orphan drug designation to the
company's lead product candidate, dexanabinol.

Dexanabinol is a neuroprotective agent that the company is developing
to treat severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Dexanabinol is currently
being tested in a pivotal Phase III trial for this indication. Results
of the trial, which completed enrollment (861 patients) in March 2004,
are expected to be announced around the end of this year.>>

Lancet 2002; 360 (9348): 1883
December 7, 2002

"It is not true that methylprednisolone is "the US standard" in acute
spinal cord injury. Although its use may be widespread, the only way
drug treatment for SCI can be standard in the USA is by having an
indication from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) or endorsement
by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/ Congress of
Neurological Surgeons (AANS/CNS) guideline committee.
Methylprednisolone in acute SCI does not have an FDA indication or an
AANS/CNS guideline. Furthermore, the "Guidelines for the management of
acute cervical spine and spinal cord injuries" n4 by the Section on
Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves of the AANS/CNS rated all
NASCIS publications only as evidence class III, because of flaws in
study design, and data presentation, interpretation, and analysis."

Gene Therapy Weekly
January 8, 2004
HEADLINE: SPINAL INJURY: Proof-of-principle data for nerve repair program presented

<<Interim preclinical data from the Innurex nerve repair program were
presented by Professor Malcolm Maden of King's College London at the
10th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration, is being held in
Pacific Grove, California.

The data, which will shortly be sent for peer-reviewed publication,
show that Innurex is able to induce nerve regrowth at the site of
injury in a model of nerve damage. These results strongly support the
technical principle of Innurex, which is designed for nerve repair and
the treatment of spinal injury.>>

Biotech Week
January 7, 2004

<<Commenting on the results, Maden said "The combination of the RAR-2
gene and the very efficient LentiVector delivery system has produced a
high level of axon regrowth. There is every chance that this is enough
for restoration of function to damaged nerves and the Company should
have functional data shortly".

Professor Alan Kingsman, Oxford BioMedica's chief executive, said,
"The Innurex program has gone from initial observation to proof of
principle in a good animal model in less than 2 years. This is a
remarkable achievement by the King's team and the Oxford BioMedica
staff. Innurex is on course for clinical development within the next
12 months".>>

Drug Week
September 17, 2004
Cholinergic deficits in VaD can be treated with cholinesterase inhibitors

<<Evidence from clinical trials with cholinesterase inhibitors
indicate their use in the treatment of vascular dementia.

According to a recent report from Finland, "Cerebrovascular disease
(CVD), as well as secondary ischemic brain injury from cardiovascular
disease, are common causes of dementia and cognitive decline in the

Also, CVD frequently contributes to cognitive loss in patients with
Alzheimer's disease (AD). Progress in understanding the pathogenetic
mechanism involved in vascular cognitive impairment and vascular
dementia (VaD) has resulted in promising treatments of these

{ Publisher contact information for the journal Neurological Research
is: Maney Publishing, Hudson Road., Leeds LS9 7DL, England.}

Lab Law Weekly
September 17, 2004
Cholinergic deficits in VaD can be treated with cholinesterase inhibitors

<<T. Erkinjuntti and colleagues of the Univerity of Helsinki reported,
"Cholinergic deficits in VaD are due to ischemia of basal forebrain
nuclei and of cholinergic pathways and can be treated with the use of
the cholinesterase inhibitors used in AD."

"Controlled clinical trials with donepezil, galantamine, and
rivastigmine in VaD, as well as in patients with AD plus CVD, have
demostrated improvement in cognition, behavior and activites of daily
living," they concluded.>>

Oncology Business Week
September 12, 2004
Angiogenesis antagonists help photodynamic therapy treat brain tumors

<<According to a study from the United States, "angiogenesis promotes
tumor growth and invasiveness in the brain. Because brain injury often
induces expression of angiogenic-promoting molecules, we hypothesize
that oxidative insult induced by photodynamic therapy (PDT) could lead
to an endogenous angiogenic response, possibly diminishing the
efficacy of PDT treatment of tumors. Therefore, we sought to establish
whether PDT induced an angiogenic response within the nontumored

"PDT using Photofrin as a sensitizer at an optical dose of 140 J/cm
was performed on normal rat brain (n= 30). Animals were sacrificed at
24 hours, and 1, 2, 3 and 6 weeks after PDT treatment. Fluorescein
isothiocyanate-dextran perfusion was performed, and brains were fixed
for immunohistological study," F. Jiang and colleagues, Henry Ford
Health Science Center, Department of Neurology said.>>

Macrophage Therapy:

Biotech Business Week
January 5, 2004

<<Proneuron Biotechnologies, Inc., and Craig Hospital announced that
enrollment in Proneuron's IND phase II trial of ProCord is now open to
patients at Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

Proneuron's processing Cell Center at Craig is the first U.S. site
that will test ProCord, which consists of autologous activated
macrophage therapy for a randomized controlled trial for patients with
acute complete spinal cord injury (SCI) within 14 days of injury.>>

Health & Medicine Week
January 5, 2004
HEADLINE: SPINAL CORD INJURY: First U.S. site tests ProCord for the
treatment of spinal cord injuries

<<Following tissue injury, a type of white blood cell, called a
macrophage, quickly starts to remove cell debris. These macrophages
then start to secrete growth factors that promote a controlled
inflammatory reaction to initiate the wound healing process.

While this process occurs effectively in most tissues including
peripheral nerves, it does not occur effectively in the CNS.
Discoveries led by Prof. Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute of
Science have shown in pre-clinical studies that specially treated
macrophages, however, promoted recovery from spinal cord injury.

Based on these findings, Proneuron is now developing ProCord as a
clinical product to treat patients with spinal cord injury. ProCord
consists of macrophages isolated from the patient's own blood,
activated through a proprietary process and then injected directly
into the patient's injured spinal cord.>>

Gene Therapy:

Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week
September 26, 2004
Neural stem cells in the subventricular zone resilient to hypoxia/ischemia

<<Neural stem cells in the subventricular zone are resilient to hypoxia/ischemia.

"Perinatal hypoxic-ischemic (H/I) brain injury remains a major cause
of neurologic disability. Because we have previously demonstrated that
this insult depletes cells from the subventricular zone (SVZ), the
goal of the present investigation was to compare the relative
vulnerability to H/I of neural stem cells versus progenitors,"
researchers in the United States report.

"The dorsolateral SVZs of P6 rats were examined at 2 to 48 hours of
recovery from H/I using hematoxylin and eosin, in situ end labeling
(ISEL), terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated 2'-deoxyuridine
5'-triphosphate-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL), electron microscopy,
and immunofluorescence," wrote M.J. Romanko and coworkers.

"Pyknotic nuclei and ISEL+ cells were observed by 4 hours of recovery,
peaked at 12 hours, and persisted for at least 48 hours. Many
active-caspase-3() cells were observed at 12 hours and they comprised
one third of the total TUNEL+ population.>>




Brain Injury Association of America

Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide

Brain Injury Resource Center

Traumatic Brain Injury


ASIA -- American Spinal Injury Association

Spinal Injuries Association

Spinal cord injury resource center

National Spinal Cord Injury Association



Google/Google News Search Terms
"spinal injury" or "spinal chord injury"
"brain injury"

LexisNexis Medical News Search
(same terms above)

Thank you again for your question. I hope this helps. Good luck with
your presentation!

-Anthony (adiloren-ga)
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