New drug shows promise in helping people with spinal cord injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spinal cord injures are a significant problem in the United States. Since the spinal cord is the conduit through which signals between the brain and the body are transmitted, any damage to this vital skeletal formation can cause neurologic impairments that can permanently affect the respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal or musculoskeletal systems.

The CDC reports that the majority of spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents, followed by slip and falls, violence and sports injuries. Victims suffer not only physically, but financially as well. The average cost per year to treat a spinal cord injury can be as high as $30,000. Depending on the severity of the injury, the lifetime cost of treatment can cost anywhere from $500,000 to more than $3 million.

Fortunately, researchers at Ohio State University have developed a new drug that shows promise in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

How the drug works

The experimental drug, known as LM11A-31, was tested on mice that suffered severe spinal cord injuries. The drug works by blocking the release of a certain protein that is released after spinal cord injuries. The protein destroys oligodendrocytes, nerve cells that surround and protect axions, the nerve cells responsible for transmitting motor impulses from brain to body.

The drug proved advantageous to other conventional therapies, because of its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier-the partition protecting the brain from foreign substances. This allowed the drug to prevent the dying off of oligodendrocytes after injury.

During the Ohio State study, researchers gave three different doses of LM11A-31 to mice four hours after they were injured. They administered the drug for 42 days after the injury. After this time, the mice that received the highest dosage of the drug were able to walk and regain coordination in their limbs.

Currently, the treatment for spinal cord injuries is an anti-inflammatory drug called methylprednisolone. To be effective, it must be administered no more than 24 hours after an injury. The researchers are further studying the effects of LM11A-31 to see if it is more effective than the conventional treatment if it is given weeks or months after the injury, rather than four hours.

Consult a personal injury attorney

Further study is required, but researchers say that the new drug shows promise. Hopefully it will perform up to its high expectations. In the meantime, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another person, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you recover compensation that will defray the high cost of treatment and cover other expenses.