EpiPen for Spinal Cord Injury Being Tested At University of Michigan Ann Arbor

July 12, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Illustration of the human body showing the skeletal system, with the lower spine highlighted in red to indicate pain spots. Image courtesy: Michigan Engineering

There’s a promising new treatment for spinal cord injuries being used in mice at the University of Michigan that involves injecting nanoparticles in order to enhance healing of the central nervous system. The Injection causes aggressive immune cells to be reprogrammed and to help heal damage. The researchers liken the approach to an ‘EpiPen’ for trauma.

Here is the press release outline the results of preliminary clinical tests.

“In this work, we demonstrate that instead of overcoming an immune response, we can co-opt the immune response to work for us to promote the therapeutic response,” said Lonnie Shea, the Steven A. Goldstein Collegiate Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Lonnie Shea. Image credit: Michigan Engineering

Trauma of any kind kicks the body’s immune response into gear. In a normal injury, immune cells infiltrate the damaged area and clear debris to initiate the regenerative process.

The central nervous system, however, is usually walled off from the rough-and-tumble of immune activity by the blood-brain barrier. A spinal cord injury breaks that barrier, letting in overzealous immune cells that create too much inflammation for the delicate neural tissues. That leads to the rapid death of neurons, damage to the insulating sheaths around nerve fibers that allow them to send signals, and the formation of a scar that blocks the regeneration of the spinal cord’s nerve cells.

All of this contributes to the loss of function below the level of the injury. That spectrum includes everything from paralysis to a loss of sensation for many of the 12,000 new spinal injury patients each year in the United States.

Previous attempts to offset complications from this immune response included injecting steroids like methylprednisolone. That practice has largely been discarded since it comes with side effects that include sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding and blood clots. The risks outweigh the benefits.

But now, U-M researchers have designed nanoparticles that intercept immune cells on their way to the spinal cord, redirecting them away from the injury. Those that reach the spinal cord have been altered to be more pro-regenerative.

Hopefully, this technology could lead to new therapeutic strategies not only for patients with spinal cord injury but for those with various inflammatory diseases.
Jonghyuck Park

With no drugs attached, the nanoparticles reprogram the immune cells with their physical characteristics: a size similar to cell debris and a negative charge that facilitates binding to immune cells. In theory, their nonpharmaceutical nature avoids unwanted side effects.

With fewer immune cells at the trauma location, there is less inflammation and tissue deterioration. Second, immune cells that do make it to the injury are less inflammatory and more suited to supporting tissues that are trying to grow back together.

“Hopefully, this technology could lead to new therapeutic strategies not only for patients with spinal cord injury but for those with various inflammatory diseases,” said Jonghyuck Park, a U-M research fellow working with Shea.

Previous research has shown success for nanoparticles mitigating trauma caused by the West Nile virus and multiple sclerosis, for example.

“The immune system underlies autoimmune disease, cancer, trauma, regeneration—nearly every major disease,” Shea said. “Tools that can target immune cells and reprogram them to a desired response have numerous opportunities for treating or managing disease.”

The research, published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was supported by The National Institutes of Health. Shea is also the William and Valerie Hall Chair of Biomedical Engineering and a professor of chemical engineering.

 

 

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Pedestrian Accidents, Quadriplegia, Spinal Cord Injury

View All Posts

About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

Practice Areas

  1. Car accidents
  2. Motorcycle accidents
  3. Automobile accident benefits
  4. Catastrophic injury
  5. Brain injury
  6. Paraplegia and Quadriplegia
  7. Spinal cord injury
  8. Drunk driving accidents
  9. Concussion syndrome
  1. Wrongful death
  2. Bicycle accidents
  3. Disability insurance claims
  4. Slip and fall injury
  5. Fractures or broken bone injury
  6. Pedestrian accidents
  7. Chronic pain
  8. Truck accidents
  9. Amputation and disfigurement

Personal Injury Blog

Jul 18, 2019
$3.19 Million project marries electrical engineering and computer engineering to create new brain imaging technology
Jul 16, 2019
Autonomous Vehicles – What Do We Think About Them?
Jul 16, 2019
"There is a fundamental issue with inequality in terms of car safety development" - Women are 73% more likely to suffer fatal or serious injuries in car crashes
Jul 15, 2019
Before your next outdoor adventure, know the signs and symptoms of concussions
Jul 15, 2019
Broken Leg from Slip and Fall is Not an Accident - Ben Yehudaiff v. TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, 2019 ONLAT 18-001537/AABS
Jul 15, 2019
More Research is Being Done into Why Female Soccer Players are More Prone to Concussion

More Personal Injury Articles » 
Review our services

Connect with us

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Youtube Google